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5 Unhealthy Sleep Habits You Didn’t Know About

Written by Alex Moore

Unhealthy sleeping habits inhibit the quality of sleep, and that would be the reason why most individuals experience fatigue, drowsiness during the day, and poor concentration.

A recent survey revealed that people with a high risk of suffering from insomnia engaged in rigorous activities before sleeping with90% watched the television, 43% performed household chores, while 33% used their computer, tablets, phones, and other devices.

All such sleep habits hamper the quality and quantity of sleep that the body requires. Here are other unhealthy sleeping routines you did not know about.

1)   Oversleeping on Weekends

Most people look forward to the weekend because they can sleep longer. As it turns out, sleeping a few extra hours during the weekend is unhealthy, especially if you have a regular sleeping regimen throughout the week.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Arizona reported that changing sleeping habits during the weekend disrupts the normal sleep patterns.

After analyzing 984 adults aged 22-60 years, the researchers found a link between changing sleep routines and ailments like depression and heart disease.

The habit causes a social jet lag, a phrase used to describe the difference between the interval when the body wants to take a nap and when it goes to sleep.

The study revealed that every hour of social jet lag during the week increased an individual’s likelihood of suffering heart disease by 11%. So, if you are used to sleeping at 10 p.m. and waking up at 6 a.m. during the week, you should stick to this routine during the weekend also.

2)   Surfing Before Bedtime

Phones, tablets, and other electronic devices have become an integral part of our lives. In fact, for most of the people, the phone is the first thing they check after waking up and the last thing they scroll before sleeping.

Some people complain of mild hip pain from mattress as they often adopt bad sleeping postures when using the gadgets.

However, exposure to the blue and white light emitted by these gadgets before sleep inhibits the production of melatonin, a hormone that causes the body to sleep.

As such, the body takes longer to fall asleep, and there is a disruption in the function of other organs. Additionally, this distortion of the circadian rhythm leaves your brain distracted and impairs memory the next day.

Furthermore, melatonin levels that are caused by the blue light increase the risk of suffering depression, poor eyesight, breast, high blood pressure, prostate cancer, and obesity.

In fact, researchers are now investigating whether blue light leads to the development of cataracts. Long-term effects of continued exposure to the blue light leads to the accumulation of neurotoxins, which make it harder to sleep.

3)   Drinking Alcohol

Most people tend to guzzle a glass of wine or other alcohol-laced drinks before retiring to bed. Of course, taking red wine is healthy for the heart, but it accounts for unhealthy sleep habits.

Though alcohol allows healthy individuals to fall into deep sleep faster, it minimizes the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The more glasses of wine or alcohol you take, the more pronounced the effects.

Rapid eye movement sleep occurs ninety minutes after the body falls asleep. During this stage people, dream and the body goes to a restorative mode.

This distortion in the REM sleep leads to poor concentration, daytime drowsiness, and robs you of the required sleep.

Some people use alcohol as a sleeping aid, which results in its dependence. Relying on alcohol to fall asleep increases the likelihood of talking during sleep, sleepwalking, and memory interference.

4)   Taking Naps during the Day

Humans are designed to have a monophasic sleeping pattern- one night’s sleep of seven to nine hours.

While daytime naps help relieve drowsiness and improve performance, they often distort the normal sleeping schedule. It is especially the case when they become frequent and at odd hours of the day.

Experts recommend napping between noon and 3 p.m. as it coincides with the regular circadian rhythm.

Napping any other time, say in the morning or late in the afternoon deprives your body of sleep during the night. The naps should also not be longer than twenty minutes.

Some people with rigid schedules, however, prefer taking regular naps during the day; say six to eight naps that each last for twenty minutes.

Such sleep cycles are also referred to as Uberman sleeping routines and can be detrimental to one’s health. While the body gets to sleep for two hours in total, the cycle creates an inflexible waking and napping cycle.

5)   Not Unwinding before Bed Time

Stress becomes cumulative during the day, making it difficult to find sleep at night. As such, individuals should unwind before going to sleep to help the brain relax. It shifts your thoughts from work and rids of issues that may be causing anxiety.

The best way to unwind involves writing all the things you need to do the following day. It helps empty the mind, and the brain does not have to linger on those issues during the night.

Conclusion

Remember that a restful sleep is important for an individual’s health. As the saying goes, a good night’s sleep can cure anything or solve almost any issue. So, the next time you twist and turn in your bed for no apparent reason, do keep in mind that healthy are applicable even in matters of sleep.

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Alex Moore

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