Using your phone at night, going straight to bed when you get home and having a lie in on Sundays are five of the common sleep mistakes you don’t know you’re making, according to sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo.
The Sydney expert said many of us are guilty of making the same mistakes night after night when we go into the bedroom.
But changing even just one of these will alter your sleep patterns forever.
Using your phone at night and having a lie in on a Sunday are two of the biggest sleep mistakes you’re making, according to expert Olivia Arezzolo (pictured)
MISTAKE ONE: Using your phone’s night mode and thinking it’s okay
The first mistake Olivia said many are guilty of making is using their phone’s night mode and assuming this means it’s fine to be on your phone in bed.
The phone’s night mode is designed to reduce blue light exposure, which is a spectrum of light that suppresses the sleepiness hormone melatonin.
‘Research shows there is very little difference between using your phone’s night mode and not using it,’ Olivia told FEMAIL.
‘With night mode, melatonin levels are suppressed by 19 per cent. Without night mode, melatonin levels are suppressed by 23 per cent.’
She added: ‘Thus, your body is able to produce a touch more melatonin, helping you feel a little sleepier – but not by much really.’
The expert said if you use your phone in bed at night on night mode, you are still exposing yourself to blue light (stock image)
MISTAKE TWO: Getting home late and going straight to bed
The second mistake many make is getting home later than usual and going straight to bed.
‘You’ve passed your 10pm sleep curfew, so instead of doing your bedtime routine, you go straight to bed, so you don’t miss out on any precious sleep,’ Olivia said.
‘This might sound right in theory, but it’s not – and if you find yourself waking up more frequently after a late night, this is probably why.’
Even if it’s done later than usual, the sleep expert said you should always do a bedtime routine, as it helps to shift your brain into the sleep mode and means you’re more likely to slumber deeply.
‘As sleep quality trumps quantity, this is preferred – and will mean you’re more refreshed the next morning,’ Olivia said.
While sometimes the idea of moving towards bed can seem like a struggle, it’s always worth avoiding napping on the sofa (stock image)
MISTAKE THREE: Sleeping on the couch
While sometimes the idea of moving towards bed can seem like a struggle, it’s always worth avoiding napping on the sofa.
‘You want your brain to have a strong association that bed is for sleep and that means not using your sofa as your bed too,’ Olivia said.
Try to keep delineated lines between bed and relaxation, and your shut-eye will be much better as a result.
Olivia (pictured) said lie ins on a Sunday should be avoided, as they can often lead to you feeling tired and jet-lagged by Monday
What is Olivia Arezzolo’s 10-step bedtime routine?
1. Create a sleep sanctuary: Remove any blue light from iPhones and devices and keep your bedroom for sleep and relaxation.
2. Block blue light: Do not allow blue light into the bedroom and restrict this two hours from bedtime.
3. Set a goodnight alarm for your phone: At this point switch it off so you wake fully refreshed.
4. Diffuse lavender: Diffuse lavender either onto your pillows or throughout the room to promote relaxation.
5. Have an evening shower or bath: This helps to promote relaxation 45-60 minutes before bed.
6. Drink chamomile tea: Do this an hour before bed to make you calm.
7. Take a magnesium supplement: This helps the muscles to relax.
8. Practise gratitude: Think about what you are grateful for.
9. Try meditation: This can be useful to help you sleep.
10. Practise deep breathing: This makes it easier to sleep.
Source: Olivia Arezzolo
MISTAKE FOUR: Sunday lie ins
There is nothing better than a sleep in on a Sunday, but while they can feel restorative at the weekend, by the time Monday comes around you might feel somewhat tired or jet-lagged.
‘Delaying the circadian rhythm – your biological clock to govern your sleep-wake hormones – a Sunday sleep in means you delay the release of the sleepiness hormone melatonin that evening,’ Olivia said.
As a consequence, you won’t feel as tired at the end of the day and might struggle to fall asleep.
‘If that wasn’t bad enough, the next morning, because of the delay, you’re more likely to be tired too,’ Olivia added.
Instead of a Sunday sleep in, take a nap of either 30 or 90 minutes in the afternoon, as this will serve your sleep debt recovery without any repercussions.
MISTAKE FIVE: Not having a bathroom nightlight
Finally, if you don’t have a nightlight in your bathroom, you’re probably ruining your sleep patterns.
‘Know that blue light, the spectrum of light suppressing melatonin and contributing to sleep difficulties, is also emitted from your bathroom’s ceiling lights too,’ Olivia said.
For this reason, even if you work hard to avoid devices and reduce blue light exposure, this will still be undone the minute you go into your bathroom to go to the toilet or take an evening shower.
If you’re looking to improve your sleep, ideally avoid blue light for two hours before bed, and get everything done beforehand.