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The worst things you can do before bed

People who look at their smartphones or tablets just before they turn in can take up to an hour longer to sleep than those who choose a more restful activity 

Mollie Goodfellow
Tuesday 06 October 2015 14:23 BST
Anything that might cause excessive anxiety or stress is inadvisable before bedtime
Anything that might cause excessive anxiety or stress is inadvisable before bedtime

Many of us have bad sleep habits, whether it's scrolling through our phones, getting too engrossed in a book or just not getting up to turn the light off.

But what are the worst things to do before going to bed?

Colin Espie, professor in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Oxford and co-founder of Sleepio, has some answers.

“Any activity that would cause an individual to have an increase in stress levels can impact a good night's sleep,” he told The Independent.

“Generally, as a rule of thumb, anything that might cause excessive anxiety or stress hormones will cause an increase in wakefulness, preventing a proper night’s sleep.”

Experts have warned that lying in bed scrolling through a smartphone before dozing could risk sabotaging quality of sleep.

Professor Espie advised avoiding any stimulating activity before attempting to sleep.

“It’s important to have a ‘wind-down’ routine – an hour to an hour and a half before you go to bed when you don’t do any work, avoid any ‘stimulating’ activity such as strenuous exercise, turn off any electronic devices and give yourself time to relax," he said.

Research reveals avid users of technology pre-bedtime can take up to an hour longer than average to eventually nod off than those who do not.

A Naturalmat survey suggests 15 per cent of Britons look at their smartphone or tablet last thing at night before they go to sleep.

Professor Espie also warned that the activities that affect sleep will vary depending on the individual. For example, he said those who become over-involved in books and find them hard to put down may find reading before bed is not the best choice for them.

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