Activities to Avoid before Bedtime

Learn the activities you should avoid before bedtime if you want a good night's sleep from sleep specialist Priyanka Yadav D.O. in this Howcast video.

There are certain activities that you might want to avoid to help with sleep onset and maintenance of sleep. Watching TV and computer is something that you would want to avoid, because not only does it engage you and stimulate you which helps with prevention of sleep onset, but light from these devices can also suppress melatonin, which is a hormone that is secreted by our brain close to bedtime to help with sleep onset.

You may also want to avoid exercising too close to bedtime. If you are a person that’s predisposed to insomnia, some of these activities will increase your body temperature, which is not conducive to sleep onset and also be a stimulating factor. It takes a couple hours to come down from that high after exercising. So, it’s very hard to come down from that high and then go to sleep immediately.

You also do want to avoid certain products like caffeine. Caffeine is a potent wake-promoting agent. It fights with chemicals that help produce sleep onset. So avoidance of caffeine six hours prior to bedtime will help you sleep a little bit better at night. You also want to avoid alcohol. Alcohol might help you feel sleepy and help induce sleep, but it will cause fragmented sleep two to three hours after you’ve metabolized it in the second half of the night. It can disrupt your REM sleep, which is very important in memory consolidation, helping retain what you’ve learned during the day.

Also, you do want to avoid eating too close to bedtime. This can also exacerbate symptoms of GERD. Our peak acid production occurs between 10:00 pm and 2:00 am. So you want to avoid any foods that contain high fat content, because this will delay gastric emptying time. You want to avoid things that will cause you personally to have heartburn, like chocolate or tomato sauce. Anything to avoid waking up in the middle of the night due to heartburn.

So these are the certain activities that you do want to avoid if you are a person that is predisposed to insomnia.