New research has revealed that more than one third of New Zealanders aren’t getting enough sleep. What you may not have guessed is that one thing that could be causing workweek insomnia is your weekend. That’s right: your weekend activities could be totally wrecking your weekday sleep cycle. According to Shawn Stevenson, the author of Sleep Smarter, “our bodies try to find patterns. We usually have somewhat of a routine during the week, but on the weekends, we throw everything to the wind and on Monday morning, it’s extremely difficult to get up early and go to work because you’ve thrown off your normal sleep cycle.” Stevenson told Real Simple that there are eight common weekend mistakes that screw with a person’s sleep schedule. Here are six of the bad habits that you should consider giving up.
1. You stay up late and sleep in the next day. Staying up late and sleeping in the following morning has a similar effect as changing time zones. It results in a jet lag-like experience. If you stray far beyond your normal weekday wakeup time, you’re messing with your body’s appetite for sleep.
2. You don’t exercise. “If you don’t get up and do some activity in the morning, especially on the weekend, it can really throw off your sleep cycle,” says Stevenson. If you wake up and work out during the week, your body is looking for its regular pattern.
3. You binge drink alcohol. If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night after drinking one too many glasses of wine—this is your body responding to the withdrawal from alcohol—you’ve experienced first hand how alcohol can affect sleep. Alcohol will reduce alertness and performance and interrupt your sleep.
4. You eat a meal before bed. Eating a late meal of rich pasta can cause heartburn and indigestion which will in turn affects your ability to sleep.
5. You drink coffee too late in the day on Sunday. If you slept in late and got your coffee later than you normally would, it can leave you feeling restless, even hours later. It takes at least six hours for your body to process caffeine, so take that into consideration when you’re reaching for the coffee pot.
6. You watch hours of television lying down. If you spend a lazy Sunday catching up on Married at First Sight, it could be hard to fall asleep at night. Try to get outside and be active even if it’s just for a short amount of time.
Tell us about your experience. Do you partake in any of these weekend habits? Have you noticed a change in your sleep?