5 Things You're Doing to Sabotage Your Sleeping Patterns

| Well Being

Most moms try to get sleep whenever and wherever they can, often in strange positions. Despite newborns and toddlers being the source of a mother’s broken sleep, there could be a few things you’re doing to wreck it for yourself. Are you guilty of one or more of these sleep sabotagers?

snooze button

Indulging in a huge lunch. Eating a big enough meal can alter your brain’s ability to keep the body awake and alert. Researchers found a group of brain cells that are highly sensitive to insulin, and a big meal can provide a boost to the blood glucose level that can then lead to a lull in alertness. A heavy lunch can lead to a steep energy dip, which will jumble up your sleep hours later. Click here for some healthy, creative lunches when you're away from home.

“I’ll just lie down for 10 minutes.” Most people nap during the warmest part of the day, which usually follows a meal. If you’re not French, you need to find a way around that post-lunch nap. Harvard sleep experts say 30 to 60 minutes of an afternoon nap is legitimate for those trying to catch up on sleep. Any longer than that, you’re begging for night-time restlessness. Trying to catch up on your Zzz’s? It could take days, even weeks to properly reacclimate a sleeping pattern, little nap by little nap. (via Healthy Sleep)

>> Read more: How to Find Lasting Energy and Feeling Amazing All Day Long

Show me a bedtime story. Since when did the TV become a lullaby? Two Pennsylvania researchers found that watching TV within two hours of committing to sleep disrupts the entire resting process. What’s more, TV is the main culprit for the intense urge to hit the snooze button. Falling asleep with the TV still on creates a poor environment for complete rest. The light from the screen inhibits the natural production of sleepy-time chemicals like melatonin. You might be sleeping, but you might not be hitting your valuable REM (rapid eye movement) period, which is the time for restoration. Try other winding down practices like stretching or journaling.

woman sitting on couch watching tv and holding a remote

Bedtimes are for grown-ups, too. Humans are routine creatures, genetically programmed to cycle through every 24-hour period with peaks of wakefulness and dips into slumber. The internal body clock is run by “clock genes.” A study on mice showed the longer they stayed awake, the more intense the clock gene became. Like your mother’s voice in your head with every passing year. (via Scientific American)

Swing shift. Monday night you hit the hay at 9 p.m., Tuesday, it’s midnight, and by Wednesday you’re barely keeping your lids propped by 7 p.m. Your body needs seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. That’s hilarious, right? If straight sleep isn’t possible these days, at least commit to the same time window, straying no more than 90 minutes. Bump up your sleep on the priority list. Respect the clock and your routine.

>> Read more: 7 Ways Lack of Sleep Affects Your Health