Many of us in Britain are relying on medication to sleep and it is estimated that a third of us don’t get more than six hours of sleep a night. Certain lifestyle factors could be to blame.
Almost 13,000 Brits were surveyed by Bensons for Beds to see what it is that’s causing our poor sleeping habits. The top 10 culprits are:
1. Never exercising (39%)
Side-stepping the obvious worry that nearly 40% of those surveyed aren’t exercising, not exercising at all means your body is unlikely to be physically tired. Getting some exercise every day (even if it is gentle to start with) can help promote sleep and boost your overall health.
2. Consuming alcohol before bed (33%)
Some people drink alcohol in the hope that it will help them drop off to sleep. While alcohol does indeed help you drop off to sleep, it will also make you prone to wakefulness later in the night, giving you a disrupted night’s sleep.
3. Drinking caffeinated drinks less than an hour before bed (32%)
Drinks with added caffeine, such as energy drinks, are designed to keep you alert. If you can’t go without a caffeinated drink, try to avoid having it close to bed time so it doesn’t affect your sleep as much.
4. Eating chocolate before bed (26%)
Chocolate contains caffeine and sugar – two substances that are known for disrupting your sleep. Try to reduce your chocolate consumption, but when you do decide to have some, enjoy it as a treat earlier on in the day.
5. Having tea before bed (20%)
Tea also contains caffeine, and if you enjoy sugar in your tea you are once again sabotaging your body’s chances of getting a good night’s sleep. Try switching to herbal teas which can help to relax you.
6. Eating less than two hours before bed (18%)
Eating rich foods, or simply eating too much late at night can hinder sleep. This is because your digestive system is working hard to digest your food, making it difficult for the body to relax. If you feel peckish before bed, try to eat something light – bananas are known for promoting sleep.
7. Eating high-sugar foods in the evening (15%)
As aforementioned, foods like chocolate can keep you awake because they contain sugar. The reason behind this is that sugar is converted into energy in the body, which understandably disrupts your sleep.
8. Exercising late in the evening (13%)
Exercising late at night raises your body temperature when you should be cooling down to prepare for sleep. Try to fit your workout in earlier in the day.
9. Drinking sugary drinks before bed (10%)
Sugary drinks will give you a boost of energy and again, hinder your chances of sleep. Stick to water, herbal teas or warm milk before bed.
10. Drinking coffee before bed (6%)
The caffeine is to blame here. Switch to decaf so you still get that lovely coffee taste, but no side-effects from the caffeine.