10 Things You Should Never Do Before Bed

Have you been having trouble getting a good night’s sleep? You may be unknowingly engaging in activities that are making restful sleep more difficult. When you don’t get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night, you’re setting yourself up for mistakes on the job, foggy thinking, and potentially life-threatening accidents. So, it’s important to practice good habits in order to get the quality sleep you need and wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day.

Here are 10 behaviors to avoid before bedtime.

1. Argue

couple arguing in bed

Let the bedroom be an argument-free zone. | iStock.com

Although anger is a healthy emotion, when it’s not handled properly, it can wreak havoc on your relationships and your health. Arguing with someone, especially right before bedtime, can put you in a state of fight or flight, making it hard to fall asleep or have a restful sleep. You’re also more likely to wake up in a pretty bad mood if you’re still dealing with an unresolved issue from the night before. Patricia Johnson and Mark Michaels, authors of Designer Relationships, recommend keeping the bedroom an argument-free zone.

2. Work

 man working at home

Work during the daytime hours if you want a good night’s sleep. | iStock.com/gpointstudio

Working too close to bedtime can make it hard to unwind. How can you drift off to sleep when all you can think about is that report that’s due the next morning? Instead, set a hard start and stop time when it comes to your work assignments. If you can, make a rule for yourself that you won’t work when you get home from the office. Your mind needs time to relax so that you can be fresh for the next day.

3. Bringing technology with you

woman using smartphone and laptop on train

Leave your smartphone (and your tablet, and your computer) behind.| iStock.com/beer5020

Don’t bring your smartphone, iPad, or other tech gadget to bed with you. It will be hard to fall asleep and stay asleep if you do this.

“In the evening, power down electronics at least an hour before bed to avoid both the mental and physical stimulation from these devices,” Dr. Natalie Dautovich, National Sleep Foundation environmental scholar, previously told The Cheat Sheet.

4. Consuming caffeinated beverages

Mug inside of microwave

Caffeine can ruin your sleep. | iStock.com

Although a caffeine rush may help you get a boost so that you can meet an impending deadline or stay up to take care of a newborn, it will wreck your sleep. Unless you like lying awake, staring at your ceiling all night, you might want to put that cup of coffee down.

5. Exercise

Man holding jump rope

Try not to exercise before bed. iStock.com

If you are sensitive to the adrenaline rush from exercise, you may not want to do a full workout before it’s time to go to sleep. Rigorous efforts can make it difficult for some people to fall asleep. It was previously thought that all people should avoid working out before bedtime, but newer studies have found this is not true for everyone. However, if you fall into the group who is affected by a pre-bedtime workout, you may want to wait until the morning. If you prefer to exercise in the evenings, it’s best to do so a few hours before bedtime.

6. Drink excessive amounts of alcohol

man drinking whiskey

Drinking before you go to sleep isn’t such a great idea. | iStock.com

You might enjoy a glass of wine or two before heading to bed, but this isn’t the best way to get a good night’s sleep. Alcohol might help you fall asleep quicker and enjoy a deeper sleep, however it can also interfere with other aspects of your rest. Studies have found consuming alcoholic beverages prior to getting some shut-eye can reduce rapid eye movement sleep, reports WebMD.

7. Eat

girl eating in bed

Refrain from eating too close to bedtime. | iStock.com

Consuming a heavy meal right before you’re about to go to sleep is asking for trouble. You’re likely setting yourself up for nighttime digestion problems. A study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology found that eating three hours or less before going to bed is positively correlated with a risk of having acid reflux.

8. Drive

woman driving car and looking at watch

Drive when you are alert. | iStock.com/dolgachov

Unless you want to get into a car accident, don’t drive while you’re tired. Operating a vehicle during the time when you’re usually drifting off to sleep isn’t a smart move. If you’re sleepy, it’s in your best interest (and the interest of others) that you not drive. Alternatively, arrange for a designated driver or taxi to transport you. Roughly 60% of adult drivers admit to driving while feeling sleepy and 37% say they have fallen asleep at the wheel within a 12-month period, according to one poll from the National Sleep Foundation

9. Drink lots of liquids

woman pouring water

If you drink too many fluids before bedtime, you’ll be sorry. | iStock.com/puhhha

Sure, it’s important to stay hydrated, but it could have a negative impact on your ability to stay asleep. Getting up to run to the bathroom several times during the night will make it tough to have a good night’s sleep. If you’re thirsty, drink a small amount of water instead of chugging a full glass. You’ll thank us later.

10. Watch a scary movie

man trying to fall asleep at night

Choose a comedy instead. | iStock.com

Do you like watching scary movies? You might want to only watch them during the day. If you’re prone to having nightmares, the last thing you want to do is have a horror-movie marathon before diving into bed. Disturbing dreams will make it difficult to stay asleep or go back to sleep after waking up from something unnerving.

Follow Sheiresa Ngo on Twitter @SheiresaNgo

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published October 2016

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