health

From showering to serious conversations: 8 surprising things you should avoid doing at night.

Whether you regularly have trouble falling asleep at night, or wake up every morning feeling anything BUT refreshed, please take a seat. We need to have a wee chat.

Because more likely than not, there are some sneaky things you're probably doing in the evenings that are setting you up for failure the next day. 

Watch: How to sleep again in four simple steps. Post continues below.


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All these little unintentional activities can end up having some seriously negative behavioural and emotional consequences that can really impact your day-to-day life.

The good news is that you can make some small tweaks to your evening routine that will help you sleep better, wake up refreshed and feeling more productive during the day.

Here are eight surprising things you'll want to avoid at all costs.

1. Taking a super hot shower before bed.

If you work out in the evenings and always have a rinse off at nighttime, or you're just in the habit of having a nice warm shower before bed - there's totally nothing wrong with that. In fact, this is actually a very good thing, and experts say it can help you relax and get ready for sleep.

However! If you always tend to jump into the shower first thing in the morning, and occasionally switch it up at night - this could be sending the wrong message to your brain, making you feel more awake and thus causing sleep issues.

What's more, if you're showering close to bedtime, you need to be wary of the temperature. Steamy showers will make your body temperature different from baseline, which can screw up your sleep-wake cycle.

2. Trying to get more work done.

Don't... do this. 

If you're supposed to clock off at 5:30pm every evening, but find yourself trying to cross more and more things off your busy to-do list, you're only going to end up being unproductive, ineffective and burnt out.

Not good.

Obviously the fact that many of us are now working from our homes has blurred that all-important line between private life and work - making it harder than ever to set boundaries.

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Image: Getty

But if you find yourself taking your work to your couch or bed to just get a few more things done after a long day at work, you're triggering your brain into associating your couch or bed with work. Meaning? It becomes almost impossible for you to 'switch off', relax and sleep well.

If this sounds familiar, make sure you're giving your body and mind a rest after work by shutting down your devices in the evening... for good. 

Creating an end-of-work ritual (whether it's going for a walk, calling a loved one or cooking yourself dinner) will help tell your brain and body that you're done, allowing you to be even more productive the next day. 

3. Having serious conversations.

You know what? Having one of those important decision-making conversations at 8pm is not ideal

Difficult life convos should be strictly held in the morning or during the day when you have more time to reflect on wtf is going on.

Dr Rosenberg tells Health, "If a conversation is stressful, it will elevate cortisol and other stress hormones impending your ability to fall asleep." 

He adds that some people might stew over the thoughts in their head and everything that was discussed, which can also make falling asleep difficult. 

In saying this, it's also not great to go to bed with unresolved issues floating around your mind, so just try to rap out things earlier in the evening rather than later, yeah?

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4. Breaking your usual routine.

Being a creature of habit when it comes to your night routine is actually a very good thing, indeed.

Things like doing a nightly skincare routine, brushing your teeth and prepping your clothes for the next day will send a message to your brain that it's time to wind down and go to sleep. 

Full marks if you do it in the same order at the same time every night - your brain will froth over the consistency and you'll find it way easier to go to sleep.

5. Letting your pet into bed with you.

Do you allow your lil furry friend to sleep in your bed with you? It could be wreaking some serious havoc on your overall health.

According to a study, a whopping 63 per cent of people who shared a bed with their pet were found to experience poor sleep quality on the regular. 

Image: Getty

Lois Krahn, the study’s co-author and psychiatrist at Mayo Clinic, said: "The study determined that while the majority of patients did not view their pets intolerably disturbing their sleep, a higher percentage of patients experienced irritation."

Not only can those sleep disturbances come from your pet moving around through the night, but pet hair can also contribute to allergies and breathing difficulties, which in turn can affect your quality of sleep.

6. Doing things that are too exciting.

While watching a movie might be a good way to wind down at the end of a long day, just be careful of your genre of choice - the same goes for podcasts and books.

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Y'see, scary, violent or action-packed content can cause cortisol (our stress hormone) to get a little crazy, making you feel alert, switched-on and anything but tired. So, yeah - things like solving murder cases might not be the best choice.

Instead, try to keep things as calm and relaxing as possible to ensure you're able to wind down and let your body and mind rest.

7. Checking your work email.

Stop it. You're only going to end up feeling all nervy and agitated and thinking about all the stuff you need to do the next morning. Seriously! 

Aside from the whole blue light thing, studies show that checking your emails after 9pm resulted in individuals feeling tired and distracted the following day. 

8. Watching news before going to sleep.

While staying up to date with news is important, consuming too much of it at night is a big no-no. Rather than making you feel well-informed, you'll most likely end up with negative emotions of anxiety and worry, which can strongly affect quality of sleep.

Our suggestion? Instead of bombarding your poor ol' brain with lots of negativity and fear, focus on spending your evenings making yourself feel relaxed and peaceful - whether it's listening to some chill music, finding a moment for meditation, or channelling positive vibes before bed.

Are you guilty of any of the above habits? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Feature and inset images: Getty

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