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6 Things That Are Getting in the Way of a Good Night’s Sleep

By HERWriter
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sleep Graphic by Aydali Campa

For many of us, falling asleep at night is a daily struggle. However, there are many things you could be doing that adversely work against you when trying to catch some shuteye. Here are 6 things you should acknowledge and stop doing if you are desperate for a good night’s sleep.

Before Bed Snacking or Drinking

Consuming any food or drink that contains sugar or some other stimulant before bed is a huge mistake many of us are guilty of. The real problem with this when it comes to falling asleep is that when the body begins to digest this food it utilizes your body’s energy. The digestive system needs a solid three hours to complete this process, so you should finish eating and drinking foods that contain sugar or stimulants three hours or more before hitting the sheets.


This may be an obvious no-no when trying to fall asleep, but there are many products that are caffeinated you might not know about. One sneaky caffeinated food is chocolate. Most milk chocolate bars have less than 10 milligrams of caffeine, but some brands of dark chocolate contain up to 31 milligrams. This amount of caffeine is equivalent to almost a whole can of soda. Another stimulant found in chocolate is theobromine which increases heart rate and sleeplessness.

Electronic Devices

Many of us look at our phones before bed to do some last minute social media and email checks. Or we try and fall asleep by watching a movie on our iPad. These devices emit a blue light which totally messes with our natural sleep patterns as well as decreasing the melatonin hormone which helps us fall asleep. Fortunately, Apple’s newest update features a new setting called Night Shift in order to combat these problems associated with the blue light emission.

Last Minute Texts

A good deal of smartphone users tend to keep their phones in very close distance to where they rest their heads at night. By sending out texts before bedtime, you are setting yourself up for the strong possibility of being waken up by a text after finally falling asleep. In a study done by the National Sleep Foundation, researches concluded in a poll that 10% of kids ages 13 to 18 are woken up after they go to sleep every single night by either a phone call, text, or email, and around one in five 13 to 29-year-olds say that this happens to them a few nights every week. Try putting your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode before bed so you can silence calls, alerts and other notifications you get while soundly sleeping.

Late Night Worries

Stress can definitely keep us up at night whether we had a bad day or are already worrying about the overwhelming day ahead of us the next morning. Your thoughts are powerful and can keep you up at night when desperately trying to fall asleep. However, there are many things you can do to combat this stress in order to get a good night’s sleep. Instead of bottling up all your thoughts in your head, try writing out your feelings in a journal to clear your mind. By emptying these thoughts you won’t feel the need to stress over them when you shut your eyes at night.


There are plenty of reasons we are well aware of as to why smoking is terrible for you, but it also negatively affects your sleep pattern. Nicotine is actually a stimulant which can keep you up at night or worsen already existing insomnia if you smoke close to bedtime. The power of nicotine can also disturb your sleep by causing the smoker to wake up earlier than usual due to the feeling of needing a cigarette. E-cigarettes, pipes, cigars and chewing tobacco all have the same effect on sleep that a cigarette does as well. Yet another reason why you should really consider kicking this habit!


Not Falling Asleep? You May be Making One of These 5 Common Mistakes. Healthy Wild and Free. April 13, 2016. http://healthywildandfree.com/not-falling-asleep-you-may-be-making-one-of-these-5-common-mistakes/

20 Things You Shouldn’t do Before Bed. Health. April 13, 2016. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20905916,00.html

Editing Note: This article did not filter through the normal EmpowHER editing and fact checking process. It was checked for spelling and grammar.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.