We get a lot of advice on how to get a good night’s sleep, which usually includes avoiding technology before bed and getting lots of natural light during the day. But a sleep expert warns there’s a bigger threat to getting our precious sleep and this one wasn’t even on our radar.
According to Dr. Michael Breus, the biggest mistake we can make before turning in for the night is trying to talk through any relationship issues with our partner. “Having big emotional discussions with your partner right before bed is one of the worst things you can do before trying to fall asleep,” he explains. “It can set off this whole level of autonomic arousal; you’re angry, you’re upset and you can’t stop thinking right before bed.”
Makes sense, right? For some of us, trying to turn off our worrying is what keeps us awake anyway, so trying to address relationship issues right before bed won’t help us catch more z’s.
So what should we do to ensure a good night’s sleep? Dr. Breus advises setting an hour aside before bed to spend on “sleep hygiene.” He suggests taking 20 minutes to finish up your last task of the day, another 20 minutes to complete your nighttime skincare routine and brushing your teeth, then the last 20 minutes should be spent relaxing your body with meditation or stretching. All of that sounds way more relaxing than discussing the state of your union, so it’s worth a try, right?