You get a coffee with your afternoon snack
iStock/creacart You’d never chug a cup of coffee before bed, but caffeine—including from tea and soda—stays in your system for longer than you’d think. Even drinking it within four hours of bedtime could keep you awake at night, says Dr. Winter. A cup of coffee with dessert might not bother everyone, but some people’s bodies metabolize the caffeine more slowly, he says. ”One study says some people feel the effects way beyond four hours,” says Dr. Winter. Cut the caffeine off after lunchtime to be safe, he recommends.
You enjoy a nightcap after dinner
iStock/svetikd Sure, that glass of red wine will knock you out fast, but that sleep won’t be good quality. “There’s a difference between sedation and sleep,” says Dr. Winter. Alcohol suppresses deep REM sleep, the dreaming period when your body restores itself. As the alcohol leaves your system, dreams come rushing in, making your sleep feel fragmented, he says. If you’re worried that alcohol could be cutting into your sleep quality, avoid drinking within five hours of bedtime, recommends Dr. Kline. Watch out for these other bad insomnia habits that keep you up, too.
You eat right before bed
iStock/Highwaystarz-Photography Going to bed with an empty stomach could make it hard to fall asleep, but avoid eating heavy food before bed. “If you have food in your gut, you’re putting more energy into digestion than into sound sleep,” says Dr. Winter. Plus, late-night eating could lead to weight gain. Settle a rumbly tummy with a sleep-promoting snack like cereal or a handful of nuts, he says. If you have the munchies but aren’t actually hungry, sip some calming chamomile tea to satisfy your craving. Find out more of the worst eating mistakes for sleep.