It’s the caffeine. But you knew that when you ordered it, didn’t you? It was perfect with that apple pie -- but at 3 a.m., when you’re still awake? Not so much. Caffeine lurks in lots of places: tea, chocolate, soft drinks, and energy drinks.
2. Have a Nightcap
It’s called “nightcap” for a reason: It’s the perfect way to end the evening, right? Wrong. Alcohol delays and limits deep sleep, which is important for restfulness, memory, and other things your brain does. It can make you drowsy enough to fall asleep, but it often wakes you up just a few hours later.
3. Surf the Web
Any artificial light at night can be bad for sleep, but the “blue light” smartphones and computers glow with is particularly bad -- televisions, too. Shut down bright screens 2 to 3 hours before bedtime to get your body ready for snoozing.
It's a great way to catch up on a little shut-eye. But if you take one after 3 p.m., you can wreck your nighttime sleep. So, no naps and no coffee. A splash of cold water on your face or a brisk walk can get you moving again.
5. Room Temperature
You’ve probably noticed it’s harder to fall asleep when it’s hot. But did you know it can hurt the quality of your Zzz's, too? High humidity can make it even worse. Like so many other good things in life, if you want to get good rest, you gotta stay cool.
6. Eat Before Bed
A little bit is probably fine. But a big meal or snack can super-charge your metabolism and speed up your brain, which can lead to indigestion and even nightmares. But it doesn’t affect everyone the same way. If you’re a midnight snacker, keep a diary of what happens when you eat late to see if it bothers you.
7. Take Medication
If you’re supposed to take meds before bed, you should. But some prescription drugs can keep you from getting quality sleep, and certain over-the-counter medications are loaded with stimulants. Check with your doctor about what you’re taking and when before you change or stop any medication.
8. Sleeping In
It may seem like a good way to catch up on rest, but it can mess with your sleep patterns. Keep regular hours, and you’ll probably snooze better and for longer stretches. Another good idea: Go for a run earlier in the day. Exercise can be a simple, healthy way to improve your shut-eye.