Things You Should Never Do in Bed If You Have Trouble Sleeping

September 16th 2016

Sleeping is one of the most restorative aspects of life, but many people struggle with sleep on a regular basis. Up to 70 million Americans have sleep-related disorders, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last year.

If you regularly have trouble sleeping, changing your nighttime behaviors could result in more well-rested nights. Here are four things you should do if you want better rest.

1. Don't check your phone in bed.

The blue light on electronic devices used for reading and entertainment can cause delays in falling asleep, according to a 2014 study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"We found that the use of these devices before bedtime prolongs the time it takes to fall asleep, delays the circadian clock, suppresses levels of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, reduces the amount and delays the timing of REM sleep, and reduces alertness the following morning," the study reported. "Use of light-emitting devices immediately before bedtime also increases alertness at that time, which may lead users to delay bedtime at home."

If you enjoy reading something before bed, a physical book might help you fall asleep, according to the Mayo Clinic.

2. Don't eat comfort food in bed.

Combining a resting space and tasty food might seem like the ultimate luxury, but the outcome can be really disgusting, forensic entomologist Louis N. Sorkin recently told Women's Health Magazine:

"Sweet foods such as soda, fruit juices, cupcakes, and cookies could attract ants and certain flies, including house flies, blue bottle flies, and green bottle flies."

Depending on the kind of person you are, the thought of attracting bugs to your sleeping space might keep you up at night.

Food can also add to the large accumulation of gross things in your bed. As ATTN: previously reported, millions of dust mites live in your bed, along with sweat, bacteria, dead skin cells, and fungal spores. Your mattress may even begin to weigh more after a while because of all of these particles. Don't bring food into this messy mix.

3. Don't watch TV in bed.

As with phones, TV light can create sleeping problems, according to the National Sleep Foundation:

"In fact, one study recently found that exposure to unnatural light cycles may have real consequences for our health, including increased risk for depression. Regulating exposure to light is an effective way to keep circadian rhythms in check."

The National Sleep Foundation recommended limiting TV usage before bed, particularly in the bedroom.

4. Don't work in bed.

"Working in bed sends the signal that the bedroom is a place for work, not sleep," Business Insider's Rachel Gillett wrote earlier this year. "The more you continue to work in bed, the more your brain associates the bedroom with staying focused and alert."

Harvard Medical School's Division of Sleep Medicine encourages people to view the bedroom as a place for sleep and not a place for the above distractions:

"It may help to limit your bedroom activities to sleep and sex only. Keeping computers, TVs, and work materials out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep."

[H/T Women's Health Magazine]

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