8 Things You Shouldn’t Do Before Bed

Oh, the power of a good night’s sleep. A whole gamut of benefits can come from getting enough rest, but for many of us, hitting the sack can be challenging. There’s plenty of advice out there about what to do to get to sleep — but what about what not to do?

Here are eight pre-bedtime activities that could be hurting your chance at a good night’s sleep.

Related: What’s Your Sleep IQ?

8 Things You Shouldn't Do Before Bed

1. Exercise

No, you don’t get to ditch your yoga mat or running shoes all together. Exercise is a vital activity for your health—and can actually contribute to getting better quality sleep. The problem, though, is that exercising within three hours of bedtime can raise your body temperature, and make dozing off more difficult. Breaking a sweat, then, is best left for earlier in the day.

Related: 7 Tips to Improve Sleep

2. Watch TV or surf the web

Studies have shown that pre-slumber screen time can impede your body’s ability to fall asleep. The likely culprit? Well, the bright lights of these screens can hinder the development of melatonin, the hormone that promotes sleep. So close that laptop and turn off that TV about an hour before bed.

8 Things You Shouldn't Do Before Bed

3. Take a hot shower or bath

Like exercise, hot showers and baths can actually help you fall asleep. The problem, however, comes when taking one too close to the time you plan on hitting the sack. Being overheated or sweating can make it difficult to sleep. Let your body cool down before heading off to bed.

4. Drink too many fluids

Caffeine and alcohol both make it difficult to get a good night’s rest. But drinking a lot of any liquid within the last hour or two before you go to bed will lead to those dreaded late night bathroom trips—and further disrupt your slumber. You shouldn’t go to bed thirsty, however, as you’ll likely wake up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water. Balance is key here.

5. Work

Whatever the work or school-related issue, it can certainly wait until morning. Focusing on work stimulates your brain and can cause unneeded stress—pretty much the opposite of what you want to feel if you’re trying to fall asleep!

8 Things You Shouldn't Do Before Bed

6. Read engrossing stories

You’re reading a really interesting novel and you tell yourself, “Oh, just one more page!” Suddenly, it’s 2 a.m. and you have to be awake in four hours. Yep, reading a captivating book, essay or novel before bed will make it difficult to get to sleep. Perhaps you can remedy the problem by finding the most boring thing imaginable to read?!

7. Cuddle with your pets

As a child, I always wanted my beloved pet chihuahua to sleep in my twin bed. And then came the reality: it’s amazing how much space a 6 pound creature can take up—and how grumpy chihuahuas can be when you disturb their slumber. The point is, sleeping with a pet in your bed can seriously disturb your sleep.

Related: Should My Pet Sleep in My Bed?

8 Things You Shouldn't Do Before Bed

8. Have serious conversations

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “don’t go to bed angry.” As it turns out, it’s totally accurate! Research has shown that sleeping directly after a fight or traumatic experience will effectively preserve your emotions until you awaken. The human body is averse to falling asleep in dangerous situations — it’s a defense mechanism. Thus, you’ll have a much harder time falling asleep after a big blowout. It’s best to resolve conflicts before you hit the sack.

Can’t Fall Asleep? Try These Things ASAP


Lara A
Lara A1 days ago

Thank you for the article

hELEN hEARFIELD4 months ago


Frances G
Past Member 5 months ago


Emma L
Past Member 6 months ago

thank you

Crystal G
Crystal G1 years ago

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Emma S.
Emma S.1 years ago

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Riya S
Riya S2 years ago

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Christine J
Christine J2 years ago

I don't know about the screen issue. I have no problem at all falling asleep in front of the tv, even when I don't want to! As for pets, it depends on the pet and what you are used to. I foster dogs from a local shelter and usually I find that they are no trouble at all; they just curl up and go to sleep. The trouble begins when I hand them back. It takes me ages to get used to not having my furry friend snoring down the end of the bed. It's horrid.

Chen Boon Fook
Chen Boon Fook2 years ago


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for sharing.