You read in bed to fall asleep
iStock/elenaleonova Don’t be surprised if you have trouble nodding off, even after you’ve tried winding down with a book. Doing activities like reading or watching TV in bed can keep your body from realizing it’s time for sleep. “You don’t want to associate the bed with activities associated with wakefulness,” says Dr. Kline. Using an eReader is a double whammy, says Dr. Winter. Like a phone screen, the light from an eReader can trick your body into thinking it’s still daytime, so use a real book instead. Attach a lamp to the wall or bed behind you so the light is indirect on the pages and not shining up at your face, says Dr. Winter.
You brush your teeth right before bed
iStock/PeopleImages We’ve all been there: You can barely keep your eyes open on the couch, so you get ready for bed. But by the time you’ve brushed your teeth, you have a second wind. What gives? For one thing, those bright bathroom lights that are great for doing makeup can signal your brain to wake up. Plus, the energizing taste of peppermint could also rev you up. That’s no excuse to skip brushing your teeth at night though. “If you’re struggling with this, try brushing your teeth early,” says Dr. Winter. Brush your teeth during a commercial break instead of after your show, he suggests. You could also swap out that zingy peppermint toothpaste for a milder one at night (though that minty one could help wake you up again in the morning), says Dr. Winter. Don’t miss these other common tooth-brushing mistakes.
You blast the heat at night
iStock/Aslan-Alphan Light isn’t the only thing signaling your body that it’s time for bed. “Our bodies have a rhythm to body and brain temperature,” says Dr. Kline. Your body cools down at night, so keeping your bedroom toasty can confuse it into thinking it’s still early. Most experts recommend keeping your bedroom around 65°F, according to the National Sleep Foundation. That temperature might not work for everyone, but in general, opt for a cooler temperature over warm when you’re trying to sleep, says Dr. Kline. Check out these other little changes that will help you sleep better.