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Most Common Sleep Mistakes

The Most Common Sleep Mistakes (and Their Solutions)

With so many sleep-aids out there, it's no secret that Americans have issues getting to bed. Before popping pills, here's how to deal with some of the most common mistakes people have when it comes to bedtime.

Getting Sucked Into TV and Going to Bed Late

The problem: You're super tired but you force yourself to stay up to catch all the highlights of the Summer Olympics. Watching TV, working on the computer, or playing with your iPad can make sleep harder to come by. Besides staying up later than usual, the light from the screen stimulates your brain and keeps you awake.

The solution: Set a bedtime and stick to it. A half hour before you know you need to hit the hay, do calming things such as yoga, taking a hot shower, reading a book, or writing in a journal. This will help relax the body and mind, prepping you for your regular bedtime.

Keep reading to find out what else prevents you from getting a good night's sleep.

A Nightcap Before Bed

The problem: If you've had a few glasses of wine, you know the sedating effects it can have, which is why many people turn to alcohol to help them fall asleep. The problem is that while having a drink may help you fall asleep initially, it eventually ends up being a disruption later on in the night, causing you to toss and turn.

The solution: Skip the booze and opt for beverages and foods that have sleep-inducing effects. Herbal tea, a glass of warm milk, a potassium-rich banana, or a handful of walnuts should do the trick.

Catnaps, Cookies, and Caffeine

The problem: You didn't get enough sleep last night so you're feeling foggy the next day. To catch up on Zs, you skip your workout and take a 90-minute nap, but then you wake up feeling groggy. To help wake up, you down a 16-ounce cup of coffee or cookie. While a catnap can restore your energy, it can often make it harder to fall asleep later that night. Caffeine and sugar can also interfere with sleep, so your efforts to increase your energy can end up backfiring.

The solution: Get enough sleep each night. Make it a priority by doing a bedroom makeover to inspire a good night's sleep. Blackout curtains, the perfect pillow, and a noise machine can make all the difference. Get seven to eight hours sleep every night so you feel peppy enough to skip the nap and exercise — getting a daily workout (early in the day) can help with sleep too.

Image Source: Thinkstock
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