3 Ways You Could Be Sabotaging Your Sleep

Have you ever found yourself restless and unable to fall asleep or maybe you fell asleep and awakened before the alarm clock rang in the am?  There could be some sneaky underlying habits that could be affecting your sleep.

I have identified 3 culprits that can interfere with restful snoozing.


While caffeine affects each person differently, caffeine intake definitely needs to be addressed when you are working on optimizing your sleep regimen.  Have you ever heard people say, I can fall asleep while drinking coffee? On the other hand, that same person may say, I need coffee to wake me up in the morning. If the coffee can “wake you up” in the am it can and will interfere with restful sleep at night. 

Caffeine is a stimulant and according to medicine.net, and is considered to be the most commonly used psychoactive drug in the world. Coffee, soda, and tea are the most common sources of caffeine in the American diet.

When I was dealing with chronic migraine headaches, I drastically decreased my caffeine intake.  It was a slow process because I would have headaches from “quitting caffeine.”

Two of my best tips for determining how caffeine affects you is to:

Learn how caffeine hides in your diet.  

Read labels and become aware of how much caffeine is in an item, if any.  For me, I would drink an orange soda and find myself wide awake at night. It took me longer than it should have to realize that caffeine is in orange soda.  So it was an easy decision to remove that from my diet.

Determine your caffeine cut off time.  

When I was in nursing school, one of the physicians that I worked with said that in order for her to get a good night’s rest, her coffee cut off was 1 pm.  After playing around with my caffeine cut off time, I found that my

cut off was 11 am! I was surprised. I stick to this cut off because sleep is very important to me.


Do night caps help you stay asleep?  Have you taken a shot of alcohol prior to bed and fallen asleep only to find yourself awake a few hours later? You may know someone who drinks alcohol to sleep.  

As a depressant, alcohol certainly helps you to fall asleep but will not help you stay asleep.  Alcohol interferes with REM sleep which is regarded as the most restful type of sleep.

Two of my best tips for alcohol consumption is:

Drink responsibly and finish up your last alcoholic beverage 3 hours prior to bedtime.

Skip the night cap.   

Blue light

In this fast paced world with massive growth in technology, blue lights are everywhere.  Smart phones are on the night stands of plenty of Americans. Frequent use of social media and phones being used as an alarm play a role in our screen time.

Blue light suppresses melatonin and causes your circadian rhythm to get out of whack, which in the grand scheme of things leads to sleeplessness.  

Two of my best tips to reduce blue light exposure is:

Reducing screen time before bed.

Shutting your electronics down 1-2 hours prior to bed will help you wind down for bed.  If 2 hours seem like a big jump, then reduce screen time in 15 minute increments until you have reached your goal.  

Use the night light mode.


There are many factors that affect your sleep patterns.  All factors must be taken into consideration as you improve your sleep.  Sleep is not a pillar in health. Sleep is the foundation on which all other components of health must be structured.  

If you have any questions, shoot me an email at mary@marystewart.net and lets chat!

Mary Ellen

2018-08-27T03:35:19-05:00 Blog Posts|