8 Surprising Household Items That Are Harming Your Sleep

by Martin Reed Patient Advocate

Many of us are making sleep more challenging for our minds and bodies without even realizing it. If you recognize any of these eight household sleep thieves, take action against them today!

Your gadgets

Not only do televisions and smartphones encourage us to stay up later than we should (and wake us during the night), the blue light they emit tells our body to stay awake rather than prepare for sleep. Switch off the TV at least half an hour before bed, and keep all gadgets out of the bedroom.

Your thermostat

Most of us sleep in a home environment that is too warm. Our bodies prefer to be on the cool side when sleeping. Aim for a bedroom temperature of 60°-65°F.

Your curtains

Make sure you have curtains that block as much light as possible during the night. The darker your room, the stronger the signal your body receives that it's time for sleep. During the day, keep the curtains open and let as much light in as possible. This will help to strengthen your sleep/wake cycle.

Your alarm clock

Alarm clocks are best avoided since they encourage nighttime 'clock watching,' and can increase sleep anxiety. Instead of waking, relaxing and seeing if you fall back to sleep, you wake, check the time and worry about getting enough sleep before having to start your day. If you rely on an alarm to wake you in the morning, turn the clock face away from you so you can't see the time during the night.

Your bed

Keep your bed made and your sheets clean! The National Sleep Foundation found that those who made their bed every day were 19 percent more likely to get a good night's sleep and 75 percent got a more comfortable night's sleep when they changed their sheets.

Your coffee machine

Caffeine has a half-life of around five to six hours. In other words, half of the caffeine from the coffee you had at noon is still in your system as late as 6pm. Avoid caffeine in the afternoons and evenings.

Your alcohol cabinet

Although alcohol can help you fall asleep, it ruins the quality of your sleep. Try to avoid drinking alcohol at least two hours before going to bed.

Your 'stuff'

A messy house can increase anxiety, making sleep more difficult. Clutter has also been found to overwhelm the brain, making it difficult to focus. The conclusion? A tidy house makes a tidy mind (and a better night's sleep).

Martin Reed
Meet Our Writer
Martin Reed

Martin is the creator of Insomnia Coach, an eight-week course that combines online sleep education with individual sleep coaching. His course helps clients improve their sleep so they can enjoy a better life with more energy and start each day feeling happy, healthy, rested, and refreshed. Martin also runs a free sleep training course that has helped over 5,000 insomniacs. He holds a master’s degree in health and wellness education and studied clinical sleep health at the University of Delaware.