Three Common Bedtime Habits Destroying Your Sleep​

Why going to bed early and sleeping in are keeping you awake

Nick Wignall
Published in
9 min readOct 3, 2019


Srinrat Wuttichaikitcharoen / EyeEm / Getty Images

Let me guess. You’ve read all the sleep hygiene articles, turn off your screens at bedtime, drink plenty of sleepytime tea, and yet your nights are still restless.

Maybe you struggle to “shut off your brain” and fall asleep. Maybe you wake up frequently throughout the night, unable to go back to sleep. Or maybe you just feel lousy in the mornings, unrested and without energy.

If you suffer from consistently poor sleep, implementing standard sleep hygiene tips like lower room temperature, less light in your bedroom, and avoiding screens may help, but likely won’t be enough. To make real headway, you must identify and correct the underlying sleep habits that are producing poor sleep in the first place.

Three of the most commonly disruptive (yet counter-intuitive) sleep habits are:

  1. Sleeping in on weekends
  2. Getting into bed too early
  3. Not having a long enough sleep runway

As a psychologist who specializes in insomnia and sleep problems, I work with clients to identify the underlying dynamics and habits that cause sleep problems, and help discover what it takes to correct them. In this comprehensive (yes, it’s long) article, I’m going to teach you to do the same.

I’ll walk you through the pitfalls of these three common, insomnia-inducing habits and offer some very specific advice about how to break these habits and build better ones.

Bad Habit #1: You try to ‘catch up’ on sleep by sleeping in on the weekend

One of the most common mistakes people make is sleeping in on the weekend in an attempt to “catch up” on sleep and pay off their “sleep debt.”

Although it seemingly makes sense to try for a few extra hours’ rest on the weekends (or your days off) to make up for less sleep during the week, these attempts are misguided and almost never worth the cost.

Contrary to what pop psychology may tell us, there’s no scientific evidence that people build up any kind of long-term sleep debt, no matter if…



Nick Wignall

Psychologist and writer sharing practical advice for emotional health and well-being: