When it comes to beds, there are some things you should never do. Beds are a place for resting and intimacy and certain habits will either keep you or your partner from sleeping or just gross them out completely. If you’re struggling to get to sleep or must appease an angry partner regularly but aren’t sure why, it could be for some of the reasons below. Never do any of the following in bed:
1. Use a screen
Tablets… mobiles…. computers… sleep experts are against screens when it comes to using them at bedtime. Using them engages the brain and, rather than encouraging you to get to sleep, will keep you up longer as you scroll yourself into oblivion.
It’s not just the fact that devices hold your attention, though; screens that have backlit displays emit blue light which hinders the release of melatonin. Melatonin is an important hormone that helps us to fall asleep. The lesson: put your screen away and read a book to entertain yourself until you eventually drift off.
2. Watch TV
If you and your partner like to cuddle up regularly with a movie in a bed big enough for the pair of you, this could annoy you. If you’re a TV addict and like nothing better than to climb into bed and watch the latest boxset on Netflix from the comfort of your bed, again this could also annoy you.
The thing is, the TV is another device that can keep you awake. By watching TV in bed, you’re training your brain that your bedroom is a place for watching TV, not for sleeping. Even if you do get off to sleep, the changes in sound and brightness on the TV can wake you up.
Does anyone really need to tell you this one? Okay, it might be cosy working from the comfort of your own bed, but you need to switch off at some point. That point should be when you set foot out of the office, whether it’s the study in your home or an office in the city centre. Leave the laptop at the office or outside of your bedroom and keep your mind from being so active so late in the day.
A bedroom isn’t the place for a slanging match of even a mild conflict with your partner. Whether you’re chatting face to face or over the phone, avoid having arguments with your partner in bed. No one wants to feel stressed or angry when they lay their head down to sleep. If you’re not seeing eye to eye on an issue, don’t get into it at bedtime. Discuss it earlier during the day instead (but not right before going to bed).
5. Make a to-do list
There’s nothing wrong with planning the next day’s activities the day before, especially if it’s going to be a busy one. After all, fail to plan and you plan to fail. Just don’t do the planning when you’re in bed. Prep your meals early in the evening, leave out what you’re going to wear and scribble your to-do list before you go to bed and then forget about it all. Prepping in bed will just make you fret about everything you have to do and you won’t sleep too well.
6. Review your day
You’ve made it to the end of the day. Fab. Now forget about it. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve had a bad day or some difficult conversations. Going over everything in your head will only increase your anxiety and you don’t have to be a genius to know it won’t help you sleep. Whatever’s been going on, get some sleep and review it the next day.
7. Sleep in dirty sheets
Again, this is just not behaviour befitting of an adult. It’s unhygienic. We sweat and shed skin. The flakes of skin we shed are tasty little morsels for dust mites, which gobble up as much as they can. The less we wash our sheets, the more food we leave for them; the more food we leave for them, the more likely we’ll attract more of them. Yuk with a capital ‘Y’.
Doesn’t have to be dust mites, though. We can attract bed bugs instead; these just feed off us directly, by biting us and sucking our blood, which causes rashes or makes us start to itch. They’ll even do their business on our linen, leaving black spots all over it. Ultimately, they’re a nuisance.
8. Remove body hair with your fingers
As far as gross goes, this is one of the worst. Whether you’re a man or a woman, pulling out body hair with your fingers is disgusting. As soft as the mattress might be on your buttocks, please remove your body hair in the bathroom, not in bed. Just like the skin we leave behind on the bed for dust mites, hair can also make a tasty little treat for them. If you really can’t resist pulling away at your body hair on the bed, vacuum your bed regularly.
9. Eat takeaway
We eat breakfast in bed and why not? Some fresh fruit and a bit of cereal… it’s a healthy start to the day. Eating takeaway in bed, though? Apart from being plain slobbish, eating takeaway in bed can cause you indigestion and make it hard for you to get any sleep. If you’ve had a drop of alcohol to go with your meal, the alcohol will trap you in the early phases of sleep, so you miss out on the more refreshing phases of sleep. You’ll also have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
10. Listen to music
Now, this is a surprising one because music relaxes you, which you’d imagine is a good thing when you’re trying to fall asleep. Only music isn’t as innocent as you might think. It increases dopamine levels in the brain, which not only lifts your mood but can also increase your heart rate and body temperature, drawing you closer to being awake than falling asleep. Checking out Eminem’s new release will have to wait until tomorrow.
Bed is a place to relax, sleep and enjoy intimacy. Some of the activities above might be relaxing, but they’ll also keep you awake. If you’re feeling overly sleepy or dealing with an angry partner when you get up, have a little think about your night-time behaviours. Some of your activities could be having a heavier impact than you think.