5 Nighttime Sleep Aid Practices That Were Destroying My Rest at Night
We all struggle with sleeping problems now and again, but it wasn’t too long ago that I discovered my own nighttime sleep aid practices were making things worse, not better. Since I gave up those issues, I still have the occasional sleepless night, but my overall rest quality is far better.
Here Are the 5 Nighttime Sleep Aid Habits that Were Sabotaging My Rest
1. Playing the Wrong Music
I used to use music to help me to fall asleep at night. The idea was to use the music as a nighttime sleep aid by drowning out the rest of the world like a white noise machine. While there’s nothing wrong with listening to soft sounds like singing bowls, ocean waves or a thunderstorm, the impact of those noises is a lot different than the tunes I was playing. I figured that because the music made me happy, it was helpful. But fast music, music with varying speeds, and people talking can all disrupt the ability to fall asleep. Since then, I’ve started listening to playlists made specifically for promoting sleep.
2. Having a Glass of Wine
I’d always thought that a glass of wine at bedtime would help me sleep. After hundreds of nighttime glasses of wine over the years, I was sure I was right about the nighttime sleep aid benefits because it helped me fall asleep more quickly. Little did I know, but alcohol reduces the quality of sleep, which helps to explain why I so commonly woke up in the night – overheated, more often than not – and unable to wind down again.
3. Regularly Using Antihistamines as a Nighttime Sleep Aid
I’d been using over the counter sleep aids without understanding what they were. Unisom, Tylenol PM, ZzzQuil and many others are based on ingredients that include painkillers and antihistamines. Once or twice, that can be helpful because the side effects of the antihistamine ingredients (such as Diphenhydramine) can cause drowsiness. But over time, as it turns out, that it does notably more harm than good to sleep. Even worse, while they weren’t helping me sleep anymore, they were leaving me very groggy in the morning, to the point that I wasn’t comfortable driving until a few hours after waking.
4. Watching Too Much Netflix in Bed
I love watching shows or movies on my tablet while lying down at bedtime, but it’s a habit I’ve stopped doing because it acts against my nighttime sleep aids that actually work. The light exposure – even with a blue light filter – tells the brain its daytime, so it won’t produce the necessary melatonin to help with drifting off to sleep. Now, I watch TV in the living room and will read a book in bed if I need to escape for a bit before falling asleep.
5. Obsessing Over My Fitbit
Fitness trackers are incredible. I love mine. One of my favorite features is the sleep tracker. It has helped me to decide which among my nighttime sleep aid habits are working. Unfortunately, obsessing over my tracker was actually making it harder for me to sleep. It wasn’t until I stopped thinking about it so much that my rest started improving.