7 Surprising Things You Should Never Do Before Bed
You change into your coziest PJs, turn off Game of Thrones and snuggle under the covers. And then you lie in bed, tossing and turning, for the next two hours. What’s the deal? Here are seven things that might be keeping you from your best night’s sleep.
Don’t: Take a Hot Bath
Soaking in a hot tub might sound like the perfect end to a long day, but think twice before you mix up the bubbles. Our friends at the National Sleep Foundation tell us that our internal body temperature typically lowers a few degrees before bed, helping us feel calm and drowsy. Raising your body temperature (like, by sitting in steamy water) is likely to make you feel wide awake. So skip the suds or enjoy them earlier in the evening.
Don’t: Eat Chocolate
There’s nothing wrong with satiating your sweet tooth with a square (or three) of dark chocolate after dinner, but make sure to space it out at least a few hours before bed. The caffeine and sugar in chocolate will cause your blood sugar to spike, and the buzz won’t do you any favors if you’re trying to fall asleep.
Don’t: Play with Your Dog
OK, we should be more specific. Cuddling with Sarah Jessica Barker is perfectly fine and there are actually health benefits to letting your pup sleep in your bed. But if you’re full-on playing and she’s riled up, neither of you are going to be able to snooze anytime soon. Instead, take her for a long walk right after dinner, so by the time bedtime rolls around, you’re both ready to hit the hay.
Don’t: Have a Glass of Wine
Don’t worry, we’re not trying to discourage you from drinking your evening vino (especially with all the weight-loss benefits, hello). But if you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s best to wrap up your alcohol consumption at least two hours before bedtime. First, alcohol messes with your sleep cycles, so even if you zonk out immediately, you’re more likely to wake again in the middle of the night, the folks at WebMD tell us. But alcohol is also a diuretic, which means you’ll probably find yourself getting up a few hours later to pee.
Don’t: Work Out
And by “work out,” we mean running, spinning and other cardio. A nice, meditative candlelit yoga session? Go for it. But if you get your heart pumping too close to bedtime, you’ll get a boost of adrenaline that will keep you tossing and turning. If you’re going to bed at 10 p.m., aim to be home from your boxing class by 8 p.m.
Don’t: Drink Tea
Caffeinated tea is a no-brainer. Like coffee, sipping a cup of English Breakfast before bed will probably make you jittery. But even herbal tea is a bad idea in the sheets, especially if you already have to get up to use the bathroom throughout the night. If this is you, cut off liquids (yep, even water) an hour before bed. Save your hydration efforts for tomorrow morning.
Don’t: Text a Friend
It’s a good feeling to have every loose end tied up before you fall asleep, but if you send juuuust one text about happy hour on Friday to your best friend, you know what’s going to happen? She’s going to text back a bunch of dancing-girl emojis, and then you’ll send the wine emoji, and before you know it, it’s 2 a.m. It can wait until tomorrow. We promise.