13 Habits Hurting Your Sleep

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There is nothing better than a good night's sleep, the kind of slumber that you wake up from ready to attack the day. However, we have all had those nights where good sleep eluded us as we tossed and turned in bed and stared at the ceiling. When those nights become more common, it can affect your job, your family and your training. In fact, sleep deprivation can cause a drop in sex drive, increased weight gain and, over time it can lead to other health issues like depression. A study conducted in 2000 found that moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments equivalent to those of alcohol intoxication. 

While the National Sleep Foundation recommends adults (ages 26 to 64) get seven to nine hours of sleep every night, we don't always hit that number. Sometimes it's just life—young kids, late nights and early flights. Other times, small daily practices you may not notice can actually lead to bad sleep. These 13 habits might be keeping you from a restful night.

Late Night Snacks

Keeping your stomach up while you are trying to rest can disrupt your sleep. Stomach acid can creep up your throat when lying down, and your body will focus on breaking down the food instead of healing your body. If you need to eat before bed, keep it easy for your body to digest with a smoothie or soup.

Double Dipping in the Bedroom

Your bedroom should be a place of rest and relaxation. When we use beds to do work, play video games or even fold laundry, we are redefining that space to be active. Remove TVs, clutter and extra lights from the room to encourage a mindset focused on relaxation. Keep food, work and chores in the living areas of your home.

Sleeping at Irregular Times

During the week, it's usually easy to stay consistent with your morning and evening routines. These habits tend to loosen up on the weekends when staying out later and sleeping in. Disrupting these routines is the equivalent to taking a flight eastward every Friday and Sunday, and your body can treat it like jet lag. Try to closely align weekday and weekend sleep schedules when possible.

Sneaky Caffeine

How much caffeine do you think you have in a day? One cup of Joe in the morning? A pick-me-up in the afternoon? For those of you in training, there is hidden caffeine in everything, from workout drinks to soda to dark chocolate. According to the FDA, around 400 milligrams is a safe amount of caffeine for adults to consume daily. For reference, a Grande Starbucks coffee is around 260 to 360 milligrams, depending on the roast. Caffeine can get into the bloodstream within 30 to 60 minutes and can stay there for three to five hours. Tally up the caffeine you consume on a daily basis, and you might be surprised. Try to scale back in the afternoons, and avoid it all together after 5 p.m.

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