Millennials, on average,¬†sleep more than any generation before them, according to data compiled by the US Department of Labor. But if you're sleeping the¬†recommended eight hours a night¬†and still feeling tired throughout your day, a deeper issue may exist and your bedtime routine could be the cause. INSIDER spoke with several sleep experts to find out which habits could be hurting your sleep cycle.
A habit that may be keeping you from sleeping well at night is the¬†use of phones, laptops, or tablets before falling asleep. But unfortunately, this is messing up your circadian rhythm, which is your internal clock that helps regulate your sleep cycle, according to physician Dr. Saurabh Sethi, MD, MPH. When staring at your phone or other electronics in the dark, your pupils dilate which allows more harsh light in. This, in turn, inhibits the production of melatonin, which is a natural hormone vital for falling and staying asleep, Dr. Sethi told INSIDER. A good rule of thumb is to power down and¬†put gadgets away about 30 minutes before going to sleep, according to Restonic.
2. You don't a have a bedtime routine.
Your body likes having a consistent bedtime, according to Dr. Sethi. The reason being that your circadian rhythm requires and enjoys that steady routine. "Constantly changing your circadian rhythms decreases the amount and quality of sleep we get each night. You can improve your sleep hygiene by establishing a consistent schedule," Dr. Sethi said. Try to go to bed only when you're tired, Dr. Karen Joubert, PT, DPT, the owner of¬†Joubert Physical Therapy of Beverly Hills recommended, but aim for the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
3. Distractions near your bed can keep you from sleeping well.
You may be surprised to discover that the room you sleep in can actually prevent you from having a good night' sleep, according to Dr. Sethi. "It' wise to get rid of the clutter around your bed. Keeping your bedroom clear of distractions will help you clear your mind at the end of a long day," he told INSIDER.
4. Your bedroom temperature can actually hurt your sleep quality.
The temperature of your bedroom is important to monitor in order to have a good night' rest. According to Kevin Houston,¬†REM-Fit¬†brand manager, the brain actually needs to cool down about two degrees Fahrenheit when you sleep. For this, it is essential to be in a cool sleeping environment even under the covers. An ideal bedroom temperature is 60 degrees Fahrenheit, Houston told INSIDER.
5. Your bedding isn't working.
Be it at your own place or at a hotel, the wrong bedding can have a negative impact on the quality of your sleep, according to Houston. Your mattress is one factor that you'll want to consider carefully. Dr. Joubert recommends when purchasing a new mattress, ask about the store' money back guarantee so you can try the mattress out for a good week or two. It' impossible to test out a mattress in a showroom. Adjustable bases and a comfortable pillow are also extremely useful because both make for a much better sleep alignment, Houston added.
6. You're exercising too close to your bedtime.
Although exercise has been shown to help with your sleep routine, doing anything too strenuous before bed can be problematic, according to Dr. Joubert. "Do try and avoid exercise two to three hours prior to bedtime, as it is a stimulant," Dr. Joubert told INSIDER. But keep in mind that a daily dose of exercise, even just¬†20 minutes of walking, can really help with your sleep¬†schedule, she added.
7. You're eating before bed.
One habit that you can easily change is the amount of time between when you last eat and your bedtime. You'll want to leave about a four-hour gap there to avoid disruptive sleep. "Eating too close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep, mostly because it gets your stomach acids going, and lying down can cause those acids to go up into your throat," Dr. Sethi told INSIDER.
8. You're in an unfamiliar setting.
Whenever you're in a new or foreign bedroom or even if there is an unfamiliar person in bed with you, your mind will stay on during the night leading to restless sleep, according to Houston. Fixing this problem is a bit more difficult, Houston added, but meditation and breathing exercises seem to help some.
Sure, drinking a glass or two of wine can help you fall asleep quicker, but it doesn't set you up for a restful sleep, according to Dr. Sethi. "This is likely caused by the fact that alcohol interferes with your hormones like adenosine, a sleep-inducing chemical," he told INSIDER. "You'll doze off fast, but you're more likely to stir in the night after drinking." To avoid this, Dr. Sethi recommends his patients to avoid alcohol about two to three hours before going to sleep.