5 Bad Sleeping Habits People Need to Change


Sleep is important. Without proper sleep, people find themselves prone to anger, unable to solve complex problems, and risk being overweight.

MaryAnn DePietro, medical writer and licenced respiratory therapist with over a decade of clinical experience, said sleep is a critical factor in maintaining good health. She shared with The Huffington Post five bad sleeping habits people need to change.

First, exercising too close to bedtime is a big no-no. While exercise is great for overall health, DePietro said doing so so close to bedtime keeps people stimulated and keeps them from falling asleep. If people insist on working out at night, they should do so three to four hours before sleeping.

Next, late-night eating has a negative effect on sleep. "For example, lying down shortly after eating a heavy meal or eating acidic, greasy or fried foods can cause heartburn," said DePietro. "Also, if you're eating or drinking foods that contain caffeine, it can also interfere with falling asleep. If you're hungry at bedtime, go ahead and have a snack, but keep it light."

Another thing she said "no" to is working right up until bedtime. She said that working until late at night does not give people the chance to unwind. If they're still thinking about work, bills, or other business, it's hard for their minds to settle down.

Fourth, DePietro frowned on the habit of staying up late and sleeping in on the weekend. "If you have a typical Monday through Friday workweek, your sleep schedule may be different on the weekends," she said. "It's common to stay up late or sleep in when you can. Although that extra sleep on Saturday morning might feel good, it may disrupt your body's natural rhythm."

When it comes to good sleep, DePietro said consistency is the key. It might be tempting to change one's sleeping habits when there's no work, but people should stick close to their regular sleeping schedules.

Lastly, having a couple of drinks before bed might sound like a relaxing idea, since alcohol is a sedative. But that does not mean alcohol will make sleep better. "That glass or two of wine may help you fall asleep, but as it's metabolised, it can disrupt your slumber later. Consider skipping the nightcap or have it a little earlier in the evening," she suggested.