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How to Break Bad Sleep Habits

Updated on July 24, 2012

The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep. ~ W.C. Fields

Get in the Habit of Sleeping Better

When You Don't Get Enough Sleep
When You Don't Get Enough Sleep | Source

What is Your Chronotype?

What is your chronotype? Chronotype has to do with what time a person prefers to be awake. Poor sleeping habits are one of the most common problems, we humans encounter.

Too often, we sacrifice sleep for other activities we deem more important. We stay up late, wake up early and lose sleep for a number of reasons. We wake up in the middle of sleep, our sleep is affected by our health, our mood, work, drugs, tv, noise and other things that interrupt our sleeping rituals. Television, the internet, using your cell phones, itouches, the computer, other electronic devices, and video game overstimulate us and interfere with our sleep.

Poor sleep habits can cause people to have more stress, more exhaustion, be more cynical, and are more likely to suffer burnout. People with poor sleep habits may feel fatigued, and be less efficient at work and with their other responsibilities, in addition to feeling more depressed.

How Do We Break Bad Sleep Habits?

  • set a regular bedtime
  • set a regular time to get up
  • avoid taking a nap during the day
  • don’t drink alcohol 4-6 hours before going to sleep
  • avoid caffeine (cola, coffee, tea, chocolate) 4-6 hours before you go to sleep
  • improve your diet
  • stay away from frood that is sugary and spicy before bedtime
  • don’t exercise right before going to bed
  • exercise regularly earlier in the day
  • set the temperature of the room at a comfortable level
  • keep your bedroom well ventilated
  • eliminate as much light as possible
  • don’t use any electronic devices before going to bed (no tv, no cell ph, no computer, no video games)
  • block out noise
  • don’t do work in bed, save the bed for sleep and sex

Before Bedtime

As you get ready for bed

  • eat a light snack before you go to bed such as warm milk and bananas
  • use relaxation techniques like deep breathing, and other anxiety reducing techniques.
  • try not to go to bed with the day on your mind
  • set up a pre sleep ritual such as a warm bath or take some time to read

Interrupted Sleep

If you get up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep:

  • get out of bed, leave your bedroom, read, have a light snack, take a bath, or do some other quiet activity. It may take about 20 minutes, but you should be able to fall back asleep soon.
  • do not watch tv
  • do not do any office work or housework

Poor Sleep Habits Can Affect Your Health, Your Health Can Cause Poor Sleep Habits

How television becomes a bad sleep habit:
Television very often keeps people up because they get involved in the show. The radio may be a better alternative to helping you go to sleep.

Bad Sleep Habits can affect your health and your health can have a negative effect on your sleep habits. If you haver acid reflux and heartburn, arthritis, headaches, menstruation, hot flashes and other ailments, you may not be sleeping as well as you could. Psychological issues can also affect our sleeping habits. When someone is depressed, or anxious a person may have poor sleeping habits. Medications can also have the side effect of sleeplessness.

If you are not sleeping well, it may be a good idea to get a thorough physical. There is a correlation between bad sleep habits heart disease. People who do not have good sleep habits tend to have high blood pressure, and other heart conditions, in addition to diabetes and obesity. Whether health conditions may play a role in bad sleep habits or poor sleep habits play a role in these issues, it is best to get a checkup.

Good sleep habits are an important health routine. Poor sleep habits are bad habits that you can choose to change.

The Best Foods for Better Sleep

Foods that help you sleep:

  • foods rich in fiber such as quinoa, brown rice -these foods help keep you full throughout the night, and contain high amounts of tryptophan, and melatonin. Tryptophan, also found in turkey, helps calm a person’s nervous system. Melatonin is a hormone that helps induce sleep and is naturally secreted in response to darkness. Grains like oats and other carbohydrates also have a calming effect and act as a natural relaxant on the nervous system.
  • Legumes include lentils and black eyed peas, and contain a large amount of B Vitamins. These foods can often replace animal protein at the evening meal. Some people have a tougher time to digest the legumes. If these foods don’t make you gassy, or feeling overly full they can help you sleep better.
  • Herbal Teas, especially those with mint, chamomile, and lavender help calm your stomach and digestive tract. Drinking the tea in a relaxing environment helps calm your system and helps your body feel more relaxed before bedtime.
  • Fruit like bananas, dates, and mangoes help induce sleep through its tryptophan and because it is an excellent substitute for any high calorie dessert. Fruit also contains fiber and is high in antioxidants. Fruits can be cleansing and de-toxifying.
  • Stews and Soups- cooking sleep promoting foods at low temperatures over hours also help calm and relax the body, far better than fatty meats, hot and spicy foods. Foods cooked over long period of times break down the sugars and starches and make it easier for your digestive system to access the nutrients from these foods

Food Not to Eat to Break Bad Sleep Habits

Foods to Avoid in order to break bad sleep habits:

  • foods high in protein - red meat has large level of tyrosine, an amino acid that causes the adrenal gland to increase the cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol puts us under a heightened state and stimulates your system similar to the flight or fight response.
  • fatty foods high in saturated animal fats
  • caffeine is a very strong stimulant that impacts the central nervous system. It takes 4-7 cups of regular coffee to interfere with sleep. Caffeine overstimulates the adrenals and will actually make you more tired when the effects wear off.
  • high sugar sweets like cakes and cookies give you a feeling of quick energy and then your blood levels fall, leaving you feeling more tired. o your body the
  • Cold foods do not promote good sleep. Salads, ice cream, smoothies, and other cold foods make it harder for your body to bring the food temperature closer to your body temperature. With cooked foods, your body does not spend as much energy breaking the food down.

Do You Feel Tired All the Time?

Nearly 58% of American adults suffer from moderate to chronic sleep related disorders.

It is important to pay attention to your bad sleeping habits, which may hint that there could be other health isues. But sometimes poor sleeping habits are formed from learned patterns.

Are you constantly tired, feeling irritable, moody and have trouble concentrating. Are you absent or late often, and do you have problems with relationships? Do you binge eat, or have a loss of appetite? Are you using prescription sleep medications to help you get and stay asleep? Are you downing excessive amounts of Red Bull, coffee, and other caffeine products? If you answered yes to many of these questions, you may have poor sleeping habits that can be disruptive to your productivity and lifestyle.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) has shown to be an effective therapeutic treatment when someone is trying to break bad sleep habits.

Sleep is Necessary For Our Well Being

People who are extremely sleep deprived show similar signs to people who are diagnosed with emotional disorders. Sleep is a necessary part of our existence, yet too many of us think we can sacrifice our sleep for other things we want to get done. The fact is, there is great importance to getting the right amount of sleep in a day. There are many benefits to having good sleep patterns, and the better our bedtime habits, the more beneficial it is for us all. From our safety to our aging, sleep is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. So take a look at your sleep patterns, and see what you can do to improve them.

I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know? ~ Ernest Hemingway

How Are Your Sleeping Habits?

Do You Have Poor Sleeping Habits

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    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Hi Helena, I am glad to know this article helped you in some way. I think we have all sacrificed sleep for other things we want to do, but once we understand what we are giving up, it does make us think twice. Looking forward to hearing that your sleeping has improved.

    • Helena Ricketts profile image

      Helena Ricketts 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      I'm glad I got to read this. I'm one of those people that sacrifices sleep for other things and ends up waking up in the middle of the night hungry. I've been going for bowls of cereal or other junk food when that happens but next time I'm going to try oatmeal instead since it is supposed to help. Pinned it and I'm going to try some of the other things mentioned. Thanks!

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Hi Kristy, I am glad you liked this hub. The foods we eat have a lot to do with how we feel, and how we sleep. Being mindful about what we eat can make a difference, even in the smallest of ways. Thanks for the up votes.

    • kissayer profile image

      Kristy Sayer 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      This is an excellent hub. I love that you included foods to avoid in order to get a good nights sleep! Voted up :)

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Hi Tom,

      I am glad you found this hub useful. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I hope this helps you sleep better. Sweet dreams!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi my friend, all great advice and tips to help us all get good quality sleep every night . I sometime have poor sleeping habits so some of this information is very useful to me .

      Vote up and more !!!


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