Most people, if they don’t get enough sleep, feel tired and cranky the next day. Studies have shown that consistently not getting enough sleep is actually bad for your physical and mental health. Lack of sleep can also increase the likelihood of cancer and Alzheimers. Adhering to strict wake-up and bed times will help. Let’s look at ways to sleep longer and better by avoiding these sleep-damaging activities.

Eliminate Screen Time in Bed

Many of us look at our phones, laptops, or televisions right before going to sleep. We also sleep with our phones right next to us, The light emitted from these devices interferes with our sleep patterns by lowering the amount of melatonin we produce. Melatonin is the hormone that helps us sleep. So if you want better sleep, turn off all screens.

Don’t Exercise Right Before Bed

Exercising at night is fine, as long as you allow several hours between the time you exercise and bedtime. Exercise increases heart rate and raises body temperature. Adrenaline increases, as does brain function. All good, right? Not if you want to sleep right afterward. Give your body time to wind down and go into a calmer mode before hitting the sheets.

Turn Off the Music

Lots of people fall asleep listening to music. Relaxing, calm music is fine for promoting relaxation and sleep. Any music that increases the heart rate, however, is counterproductive to falling asleep. For a better night’s rest, turn off the music before sleep, or put the device on a timer that turns the music off automatically.

Skip Naps

Some experts tout naps as a great idea, and they can be relaxing. However, if you find yourself having a hard time going to sleep at night, try skipping the nap. If that’s not a good option, at least shorten the amount of time you nap, or nap earlier in the day. The closer to bedtime you nap, the less likely your body will be ready for bed when you want to retire.

Don’t Drink Coffee After Dinner

Caffeine can stay in your body and affect your energy level for 6-8 hours after it has been consumed. As tempting as that after dinner coffee or tea may be, if you’re experiencing trouble falling asleep or sleeping well, consider restricting your caffeine intake to earlier in the day. For some, even afternoon caffeine can interfere with sleep.