5 Evening Habits That Mess With Your Sleep
There is one aspect of your lifestyle that is more important than all others. It’s your sleep. And unless our nighttime routine promotes success, we suffer. Yes, not just you but those around you. And it is, to use an old success term, the “key” to human energy, health and performance.
Sleep is the bedrock for restoring your energy, and what we do in the evening impacts it more than anthing else. Your evening/nighttime routine will either mess up your sleep and ultimately deplete the level of energy you so depend on during your relentlessly busy days, shorting your action potential; or, it will make you powerful and give you grace!
Before we dive into the 5 evening habits that are messing up your sleep, first a little background.
Everywhere you look, there are health and success experts, trainers, strategists and thought leaders all focused towards great ends; wanting you to live a disease-free, healthy, higher achieving and fulfilling, quality of life.
That said, almost all overlook the life force energy that makes it all possible. And even fewer are talking about the lifestyle we’re living as a whole these days that results in us being so wiped out tired before the end of the day that we end up responding to stress in ways that create way more stress as we cope with exhaustion, which, crushes (in a bad way) our sleep quality.
That, of course, leads to a vicious cycle that can give way to other vicious cycles such as poor eating… and ultimately a hard-to-get-out-of downward spiral; as poor sleep quality undermines all our other lifestyle habits; and so it goes.
In response, and for a long time, I’ve been inspiring, educating and supporting people, typically the driven among us, on how to live in balance with vibrant health and peace of mind while achieving even our most ambitious goals, as a new kind of coach, a Performance Lifestyle Coach. It’s what gave rise to founding Performance Lifestyle® Inc and growing a team of people who will help you get all aspects of your lifestyle working for you (not just your nutrition and fitness), so you can better achieve what you’re up to in the world.
In other words, we help you get free of the hidden lifestyle challenges that distract and hold so many people back from living that disease-free, healthy, higher achieving and fulfilling, quality of life.
The difference between a Performance Lifestyle coach and any other type of “life coach,” is that we focus on your style of living for whole-life performance; not just obtaining the skills and knowledge needed to achieve specific personal or professional goals. For example, what’s the point of having the skills to achieve a specific goal, if you are suffering from fatigue and are not able to perform well, to begin with?
Which, is our segue.
If there is one hidden challenge that is more challenge “ing” than all the others; a problem that is so pervasive even those who don’t realize they are suffering from it are likely suffering from it to some degree, affecting every other aspect of their lifestyle, and their capacity to stay healthy and succeed… It’s fatigue.
I have known that for some time, particularly as a very driven person who suffered from fatigue for a very long time, but I must admit its taken years for me to appreciate how influential fatigue is and has been in my/our hard-charging lives. It’s also taken our company years not only to prioritize fatigue and energy management over all other aspects of human performance (psychology, nutrition, fitness…) but become knowledgeable in the “motherload metric” of fatigue (the flipside of energy) what and how important optimal sleep (for starters) is in limiting its daily and cumulative impact.
And above all the amazing insights we’ve learned as a company— key scientific concepts and findings, understandings, nuances, principles, practicess, strategies including the use of technology to ensure we not only get enough and the right quality of sleep, but also manage our energy throughout our day’s, weeks and month for better results in our lives— none trumps the impact of fatigue more than the evening routine.
Talk to almost anyone these days and you will discover a sleep problem; if not sleep apnea/like symptoms, there are too many awakenings due to an overactive mind, or simply not enough sleep. And, what should be obvious but is too rarely talked about, is how much energy we are spending these days.Today, more than 70 million people in America are struggling to get enough of the deep and regenerative quality sleep that makes our life work well, but we are also spending more energy each day than at times, 7-9 hours of sleep alone, can actually recover.
So let me be clear when it comes to energy, sleep is not enough, but you must get enough sleep!
Now, there is a much bigger conversation here, though in this journal post we’re identifying 5 common evening habits that are surely messing with your sleep. They are all part of your nighttime routine and your nighttime routine will determine the success of your sleep. So this journal post should inspire you to optimize your nighttime routine—the post-work, pre-bed period—which is critical to your sleep, or what we call “the bedrock of human energy, health, and performance.”
This will start you on the path to living a “performance lifestyle,” you can call your own, where you optimize the way you live as a whole, to support you and what you’re up to in the world.
5 Evening Habits That Are Messing With Your Sleep
Stuck tossing and turning when it’s time to sleep? Here are some surprising ways that you might be shortchanging your shuteye in the hours leading up to bedtime—and how to reverse course.
- You eat dinner too late.
We get it, you’re working late and late work hours can lead to late-night dining. But eating like you’re in Europe doesn’t make for quality sleep. That’s because your body does its best digestion when you’re upright—not curled up in bed and when you’re ok with your energy digesting food. On behalf of you, let’s just say, you don’t want to be ok with your body digesting food throughout the night.
Going to bed with a full stomach makes you seven times more likely to suffer from uncomfortable issues like acid reflux, sleep apnea, or heartburn that can keep you awake.
Also, sleep is for energy, and body regeneration, not digestion, which is energy intensive and distracts your energy away from regeneration, leaving you tired and less recovered in the AM. There is a whole cascade of neurotransmitters and hormones that will be blunted if you are eating too late at night. This is a big one.
2. You watch TV in bed.
Exercise, like sun/light, earlier in the day, is great for your sleep. TV marathons, on the other hand? Not so much. Not only does the availability of endless episodes mean serious temptation to keep watching past your bedtime, and eat, but the blue light that the TV emits can disrupt your body’s natural melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep when it’s time.
Take your TV out of your bedroom tonight it’s a stimulant that is killing your sleep. Nothing like having a Walking Dead Zombie on your mind as you drift off into not so peaceful sleep, let alone the news.
We like to watch TV, at times, so if you do, be prepared to make changes on certain days that afford this time, so it does not take away from your sleep.
3. You go to sleep with your smartphone in the room.
Phones and tablets are just mobile TV’s, they bring the same sleep-evading blue light into your bedroom as TV. But that’s not the only reason they can disrupt sleep. Checking your e-mail or scanning Facebook or other social media sites before bed can be a recipe for getting riled up with work stress or political posts—none of which is conducive to restful sleep. And as we have all learned it’s hard to stop.
Look, here at Performance Lifestyle, we look to live ideally, but we are not idealists. There are times to break every rule, particularly when other rules have been broken and you are in-fact coping. There are worse things you can do than watch America’s Got Talent on your iPhone before bed. I am the head coach of Performance Lifestyle Inc and I do so from time to time. You don’t want to make your iPhone or Android, a major way we interact with the world, the bad buy here. But we do need to work on our relationship with our devices as part of your performance lifestyle.
Do you have a relationship with your iPhone that’s supporting you and what you’re up to in the world? Or, is it distracting you, depleting you, and taking your time and attention away from what’s important to your health and success?
One reason we call this the “performance” lifestyle is that, while no doubt healthy, performance is based on energy first and foremost and to manage your energy, you must learn lifestyle management. Digital devices today are part of that management. You need to use them, they cannot take you over.
4. Your midnight snack is sugar-central.
First, if you are eating, a whole food, plant-based nutrient-rich diet, you will not be driven for midnight snacks or snacking much at all.
Munching on cookies may seem innocent enough, after a hard day’s work, but all that refined sugar can take a toll on your sleep. The inevitable sugar crash, and worse, body cleansing that is always taking place, especially when you sleep, may leave you feeling ready to turn in, but unable to sleep.
Excess sugar can also cause middle-of-the-night awakenings as your body detoxifies, and you are both craving and uncomfortable. And that sets the stage for bleary-eyed mornings as you didn’t actually recharge during the night as your body dealt not only with the sugar but all the other food “stuff” that the sugar, and salt, and oil, etc came packed with.
If you are experiencing sleep apnea like effects where you breathing gets’s blocked, particularly when sleeping on your back then, first and foremost, look to your food choices and when you are eating.
5. You are too tired at night and buffer poorly before bed.
Yes, this is a habit. It’s a macro habit and more indicative of your daily routine. It’s getting too tired.
This can probably be the toughest thing to deal with at night. It’s ironical when you face how tired you really are, not how tired you think you are. When we slow down, this is called a buffering period. It’s the time period between the activity of the day and the inactivity during sleep. Years ago, before the Internet sped up the pace of life 10-fold, when we worked for 8 hours, had “life” for 4-8 hours and then slept for 8-12 hours we had a buffer period to wind down before bed.
Years ago, before the Internet sped up the pace of life 10-fold, when we worked for 8 hours, had “life” for 4-8 hours and then slept for 8-12 hours we had a buffer period to wind down before bed. Today we don’t have that buffer. With access to information the way we do, we are working or “spending energy” nearly all the time. Unless you make the time to buffer and change the way you work your days, weeks and months so that you are not so tired by nighttime you need food, tv and a bottle of wine, let alone sleeping pills just to get to sleep, then your sleep will be compromised.
Lack of buffering time is why people struggle with getting to sleep and get to sleep so late. They are simply too tired and it’s too uncomfortable to deal with the deep regeneration that takes place as you initially succumb to sleep. And this also creates an unhealthy association between stress and your bed as you toss and turn dealing with your exhaustion.
Final thoughts for now,
As stated above, sleep alone is not enough today to maintain the surplus energy over and above the demands of our relentlessly busy days, but it is the bedrock. You must enough quantity
of sleep that is high quality, and consistently and we are going to help make this possible for you in your life.
Stay tuned. Ask the Lifestyle Coach will be starting soon, where you will be able to ask your most important questions and participate in monthly Q&A on all articles, journal posts and realization video’s from that month as you walk the Performance Lifestyle path that will uplevel the way you live and make possible the advancing life.
John Allen Mollenhauer, known as John Allen or “JAM”, is the head coach and founder of Performance Lifestyle Inc. and a leading authority in healthy, performance living worldwide. He is Professional Coach who helps driven people live in balance with vibrant health and peace of mind while achieving even their most ambitious goals.
Schedule with JAM today to assess your present situation and determine the best course of action for you and or your company.