It’s not surprising that we love our beds. They’re cozy, warm, and symbolic of lots of good things, including sound sleep. But if you use your mattress as a home office or ad hoc dining room, that tantalizing cocoon of serenity will fade fast, leading to trouble falling—and staying—asleep. To ensure restful slumber, start with clean linens, preferably washed with a fabric softener and scent booster, in a fresh, layered scent like vanilla and lavender you may associate with a blissful night’s sleep. Then, once you climb under the covers, never, ever do the following:
Pay bills or answer emails. Thinking about your financial situation or what’s going on at the office can cause anxiety and worry, two things you should definitely avoid prior to hitting the hay.
Eat in bed. Besides getting crumbs in your sheets, chowing down right before you go to sleep can inhibit your peaceful slumber, especially if your meal is high in hard-to-digest fat. It’s best to have a light snack (almonds, fruit, a glass of milk)—in the kitchen, not the bedroom—two to three hours before lights out.
Smoke cigarettes. The health dangers of smoking aside, doing so in bed is the No. 1 cause of preventable home fire deaths in America, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Nicotine’s also a stimulant, which can disrupt your slumber and make waking up in the morning more difficult.
Watch horror or action movies. Again, that hour before bedtime should be used for relaxing activities, such as reading or listening to soothing music. Anything that amps you up—or gets your adrenaline pumping—should be avoided.
Argue with your significant other. If late-night pillow talk is the only time you have to really catch up with your spouse, steer clear of volatile or emotional issues. Arguing (and its cousin stress) can wreak havoc on your nervous system, making it hard to calm down enough for sleep. Plus, you know what they say about going to bed angry…