Sitting in a dark room staring at our phones isn't exactly relaxing, either, which means our revenge bedtime procrastination can negatively impact sleep when we do eventually try to drift off. We've stimulated our brains when they should be winding down and they're like... what?
It also adding to the time it takes to nod off, according to Harvard University, who report: "We found that the use of these devices before bedtime prolongs the time it takes to fall asleep."
What do we need to do to correct this bad behaviour and catch up on sleep? We need to work on our "sleep hygiene."
Sleep hygiene refers to healthy habits, behaviours and environmental factors that can be adjusted to help you have a good night's sleep.
And apparently many of us need help, as according to recent research from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2 in 3 adults report having at least one sleep problem.
According to the research, women are more likely to report short sleep comparatively to men, poor sleep quality and suffer with daytime symptoms associated with poor sleep. And insomnia is up to 1.4 times more common in women than men.
So, if you’re keen to break the habit, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene and nightly routine. Suck it, insomnia.
1. Set a consistent bed time
Guilty of going to bed at 10pm one night, 1am the next? Same! Inconsistencies in our sleep pattern can make it tougher for the body to wind down at night. If you aim to go to bed within the same window of time each night, you'll be creating a logical pattern for our body clock to follow.
2. Create a relaxing routine, to begin at least an hour before bed time
If you want to watch TV or spend a few hours on the socials, be our guest. But try to stop using your devices at least half an hour before bed, if not an hour. Use that time to get into actual relaxation mode, not the faux-relaxation mode of watching a movie.
Take a bath, do your skincare routine, find a good book or even listen to a lowkey podcast – so long as it’s not a source of light coming straight for your eyeballs any of these kinds of things will do.
If you really want to embrace your sleep hygiene, you can even try meditating nightly before hoping into bed. This Guided Meditation playlist on Spotify is perfect for beginners and seasoned Zen masters.
3. Set the mood
Another way to signal to your body that it's time for bed is to ditch the harsh overhead lighting in favour of lamps.
Turn down the lights and bring about a "sleepy" feel to the air with the help of a diffuser or sleep spray.
The L’Occitane Cocon De Sérénité Relaxing Pillow Mist is sure to inspire your dreams, with a "blend of serenity-inspiring fragrance notes" including lavender, bergamot, mandarin, sweet orange and geranium. Shop here.
Diffusers are also a great option, with the ability to mix together your favourite soothing scents like lavender oil or ylang ylang oil.
And it doesn’t hurt that there are plenty of cute options for your bedroom, like the MoodMist® Diffuser from Dusk, Sense Snow Earth Ultrasonic Diffuser from Adairs, or the Pure Spa Cool Mist Ultrasonic Diffuser with 3 Pack Essential Oils Violet from Myer.
If you’re looking to go extra chic, the In Essence 360 Sage Diffuser and Palm Beach Collection Aromatherapy Stone Diffuser, both from Myer, are sure to complement your room.
4. Listen to soothing sounds
Silence is considered one of the preferred sleep situations by health experts, but for some it can have the opposite effect in those early moments of drifting off.
We face so much visual stimulation in our days, from looking at computer screens to watching TV, that it can actually be really difficult for our brains to switch off just because we close our eyes.
If you’re someone who finds themselves thinking in overdrive during a moment of silence, opt for the soothing sounds of ocean waves, crackling fire, thunderstorms or really anything that works for you! There’s plenty of available options on Spotify, with an entire segment dedicated to sleep.
Alternatively, you can listen to a podcast of sleep stories like the Just Sleep podcast where Taesha Glasgow reads bedtime tales, or the Sleep Stories on the Calm App,which are read to you by famous stars like Matthew McConaughey.
You can also set these sounds or stories on a timer so that they "run out" when you’re heading off into a deeper sleep.
5. Use tech to track your sleep cycle
Okay we know we said to put your damn phone away but… this is different. Thanks to many a genius around the world, there are actually plenty of ways for us to track our sleep cycle and use that information to improve on our nightly routines.
You could use a smart-watch like Withings Scan Watch, which computes numerous data points to measure sleep cycles, detect breathing disturbances and then calculates your overall Sleep Score. Or the Fitbit Inspire HR Tracker, which tracks how long you sleep versus how long you are tossin' and turnin' to check on your sleep health.
Or you could take it a step further with a device like Withings Sleep Tracking Mat, which offers sleep cycle analysis (deep, light and REM), heart rate tracking and snore detection. Connected to the Health Mate app, the new Sleep Diary feature allows the wearer to monitor for conditions such as sleep apnea or insomnia.
6. Reach out to a medical professional
While tech is a great way to monitor the effectiveness of your new sleep hygiene and nightly routine, if you’re still struggling after implementing some better habits it’s a great idea to check in with your doctor.