I, Roy Brown, can’t ever get sleep! Just the other night I got 3 hours. Most people struggled to get shut-eye in the pre-pandemic days. it’s only gotten worse over the last year. Stresses related to COVID, including financial, health, and social isolation, can keep people up at night and now there’s even a name for it – “coronasomnia” – or not being able to fall asleep or get good quality sleep during the global health crisis. And we may be doing some things that make it harder to snooze, like these sleep mistakes that could be keeping us awake.
- Too much screen time – We’ve heard it all before, but scrolling on your phone, tablet or laptop before bed subjects your eyes to sleep-disrupting LED spectrum blue light, which messes with melatonin levels and keeps us alert when we should be getting tired.
- You’re becoming a night owl – Lots of us are going to bed later and waking up later, too, but it can throw off the body’s biological clock, which controls our hormones, body temperature and sleep-wake cycles. Sleep specialist Dr. Raj Dasgupta reminds, “The best sleep requires a set bedtime, even on weekends and holidays.”
- Hitting the snooze button – Sure, you can go back to sleep before the alarm goes off again, but it’s a “very light, low-quality” sleep and when you wake up 10 minutes later, you’ll be in the middle of a sleep cycle and feeling groggy.
- You’re napping – A quick snooze of 15 to 20 minutes can help you feel alert, refreshed and may even boost cognitive performance. But keep naps under 45 minutes and take them before 2pm so you don’t mess with that night’s sleep.
- Checking the clock – If you check the time when you wake up during the night, you’ll start trying to figure out how much time you have left to sleep, which can worry you into not being able to get back to sleep easily.
- You’re relying on sleeping aids – Prescription sleeping pills can be addictive, but even melatonin can be misused. So if you decide to take it, timing is key and you should take it two hours before bedtime.