What Not to Do While You Sleep

Nighttime Habits That Ruin Your Sleep and Health

You slip under the covers, turn off the light, and rest your head on your pillow. Seems simple and perfect, but here are some things you could be doing in bed that harm your health.

Mentho-lyptus Sleepover

If you suffer from a chronic cough, cold, sinus infection, or postnasal drip, sucking on a cough drop may be the only way you can get some sleep without coughing keeping you up. Although soothing to your throat, exposure to a bath of sugar all night long is sure to lead to tooth decay and cavities. Here are other natural remedies for your nighttime coughs. If the cough persists, it's time to see your doc.

No Wonder My Jaw Hurts

Many people unknowingly clench their jaws or grind their teeth at night, which can lead to tension headaches, earaches, irritated tissue on the inside of your cheeks, jaw pain, and permanent damage to your teeth in the form of chips and worn-down enamel that cause sensitivity or cracks. Stress can be a factor, so reducing the amount of worry in your life can help. If it doesn't, see your dentist about designing your own personal mouth guard to sleep with. Not exactly the sexiest thing to wear to bed, it's sure to offer you a more restful and less painful night of sleep.

Cheers Before Bed

While a glass of wine has relaxing effects, the alcohol can interfere with your body's sleep patterns. Even thought it might help you fall asleep faster, polishing off too much right before bed tends to cause tossing and turning during the night. Plus a morning after drinking almost always makes you feel groggy, which means you're more likely to skip the workout that both boosts your immune system and helps you sleep better that night.

Just One More Round of Candy Crush

Whether you're playing on your phone, sending one last email, or checking in on Facebook, staring at a bright screen right before bed stimulates your brain, making it harder for the body to unwind, relax, and sense that it's time for bed. Not to mention, forgetting to put your phone on mute can also mean getting woken up by that alarming "you've got mail" ding. If you want to get lost in something, open a relaxing book, do some yoga, or meditate instead.

Who Knows How Old It Is?

Aside from being unsupportive and leading to neck or back pain, dust mites love hanging out in old pillows. Even if you don't suffer from allergies, it's not healthy to breathe in dust mites all night long. Replacing bed pillows every few years is recommended, but if you find they're lumpy, need to be fluffed up often, or have an interesting odor, you'll want to splurge on new ones more often. Zip an allergy cover over your new pillow to protect dust mites from moving in.

I Can't Sleep!

If you're not getting enough quality sleep, you're at a greater risk of sickness, weight gain, impaired memory, increased blood pressure, moodiness, and skipped workouts from lack of energy. All of these contribute to poor health, so it's important to figure out what's preventing your insomnia in order to get a solid amount of z's.

Brr

With temps dropping outside, your natural instinct is to turn up the temp inside, but cranking the heat dries the air, causing sore throats and nighttime coughing. You'll sleep much better in a cool room (around 60 degrees) — just throw on an extra blanket.

Come on In, Fluffy!

Who doesn't want to snuggle with something soft and furry? But allowing your four-legged family member into your bed means dust mites and fleas (if your pet has them) will also be sleeping with you. Pets can also be disruptive during the night, sleeping on your head, licking your face, and doing other adorable things that interrupt your sleep.

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