The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Sleeping
August 29, 2018
GOING TO BED ONLY WHEN YOU’RE TIRED
It sounds like logical advice, like ‘eat only when you’re hungry’, but varying your bed time can be a big
mistake. Our bodies crave structure and routine and changing our bedtime constantly can cause sleep
disruption over time. Getting to bed and waking up at the same time every day makes it much easier to get
to the sleep in the long run. Why? Because our bodies start to recognise the routine. They reduce
adrenaline and cortisol and increase sleep inducing melatonin at the time you start to wind down each night.
If it all sounds a bit much to begin with, aim for 5 nights a week in a routine and watch the results!
GETTING OUT OF BED IF YOU CAN’T SLEEP
We’ve all heard this one - if you can’t sleep after 15 minutes of trying, get up and do something else, like
read or listen to music. But not so fast! Any time spent resting—even if you’re not sleeping—can be hugely
beneficial to the body. Resting helps lower stress-hormone cortisol levels, so any time spent resting is good.
And bear in mind, if you get up and start reading, going on social media or catching up on emails, your brain
will make up even more, making it twice as difficult to get back to sleep.
HAVING A NIGHTCAP
It’s a common myth and one many of us fall prey to, believing a little tipple before bed will help us wind down
and fall asleep faster. As an overall rule, alcohol will harm your sleep. It interrupts circadian rhythms and
results in less REM sleep, as well as increasing the need to urinate and causing breathing problems through
over-relaxation of throat muscles. All of these symptoms disrupt your sleep, causing you to feel tired the next
morning. If you do fancy a drink in the evening, make sure you finish up early. Alcohol can continue to affect
your sleep even four or five hours after you’ve had your last drink.
LOOKING AT THE CLOCK
We’ve all been there. Busy day the next day and you have to be up early, so wake up every hour on the
hour checking that clock! Although it feels like you’re in control of the situation, it’s actually a really bad habit.
As the time you have for sleep decreases, the worry that you won’t be able to fall asleep increases. Your
best bet is to set an alarm and place it far away from the bed, where you can’t see the clock.
Even better advice if your phone is your alarm. Even the smallest flash of light from a screen can wake us
up. Wherever possible, keep your bedroom distraction free!