Having a good night’s sleep is not a faraway dream anymore. Follow some of these tips to get some deep, quality sleep.
Morning routines are going viral, but you should probably pay attention to your nightly rituals as well. Everything we do before bed – from sleep hygiene to various habits such as reading – will impact the sleep quality. According to Britney Blair, licensed clinical psychologist and board-certified behavioral sleep psychologist, also the co-founder and chief science officer at a leading sexual health app known as Lover, sleep is not like a switch you can easily turn on or off. This is why you need a regular night routine to unwind at least an hour pre-bedtime. “The golden rule is to do something relaxing an hour before bedtime,” says Dr. Blair. “It will both sooth your body and calm your mind.”
We present to you a list of 14 healthy before-bed habits that help you get a good night’s sleep. Follow them consistently and you’ll feel more refreshed by the time you wake up!
1. Set Your Alarm
You might already have this habit, but to regulate your sleeping consistency, set it on same time every day. The idea of sleeping until afternoon on weekends is really tempting, but we suggest you to stick with the same sleeping pattern. “A simple trick to get healthy sleep, is to choose a particular time in the morning and wake up at the same time every day,” explains Dr. Blair. “This will gradually regulate your sleeping pattern and help you get proper night’s sleep.”
2. Avoid the Screens
You’ve probably heard this one over and over: Put The Screens Away before Bed. It’s scientifically proven that blue light emitting off the screens has adverse effects on our sleep by disturbing the secretion of sleep hormone, known as melatonin. “From evening on, your body does not want anything that disturbs the production of melatonin,” says Dr. Winter.
According to Dr. Winter, if you really should use your phone or laptop at night, it’s a good idea to put it on night mode or decrease screen brightness. You can even try wearing blue-light blocking glasses.
3. Dim The Lights
Melatonin production is regulated according to surrounding light level. With technology having a major role in our lives, it’s not really easy to avoid disturbing agents. Having said that, Dr. Winter recommends people to install light dimmer switches to gradually decrease light intensity simultaneously as the natural light, and trick your body to assume it’s ‘sunset’ drawing over. “This is the best way to induce melatonin secretion. Add as much light as possible during the day, and dim the light gradually from evening on,” says Dr. Blair.
4. Drink a Cup of Tea
It sounds tempting to consume some alcoholic beverage before bed when you need a drink, but experts recommend you otherwise. Alcohol will potentially disturb your sleep, so it’s a better idea to have a cup of herbal tea containing zero caffeine. “Chamomile is specifically helpful with anxiety,” says Stefani Sassos, MS, RDN. “A warm cup of chamomile tea will help you sleep better after a long day.”
As you can already guess, meditation is another option for bedtime relaxing routine. Each night, take a few minutes to meditate and unwind. This will help relax your racing mind and get ready to sleep. If you’re unsure how to do so, consult a meditator or use meditation apps. If you find meditation not helpful enough, try other activities such as praying or devotions reading. “This sort of practices will calm your mind to some degree and calm your thinking,” says Dr. Winter. “Follow the meditation guides and you’ll find it easier to go to bed.”
6. Take a Warm Bath
Taking a warm shower about an hour before bedtime has undeniable effects on relaxing, making it easier for you to fall asleep. Showering reduces your body temperature and facilitates the natural flow of sleep. “Perhaps the best trigger to make yourself sleepy, is to warm up your body and then let it cool down naturally,” says Dr. Winter.
However, taking a too hot shower can have opposite effects. According to Dr. Winter, increasing your body temperature way too high will take more time to cool down, thus disturbing a good night’s sleep. “Regarding the evolution, the core body temperature either means having an infection or you’re laying too close to a fire,” she says. “Your body needs to keep you away from danger, this is why a high body temperature will steal the sleep from your eyes.”
7. Listen to Music
We all know the key to a good night’s sleep: Relaxing the body and calming the mind. So it’s probably a great idea to lie in your bed and listen to some of your favorite music to help you drift off. Choose your music according to your taste, and it will be a perfect option for your nightly ritual. If regular music disturbs your sleepiness, try listening to plain white noise or soft nature sounds to lull you into a deep sleep.
8. Read a Book
If normal habits aren’t enough to distract your mind from the outside world, try reading a good book! This doesn’t mean you should hop for a thrilling novel. Reading on digital devices isn’t recommended either due to blue light emission. Instead, go for a traditional paper book with a preferably boring subject and you shall be snoring in minutes.
9. Eat a Light Snack
You want to avoid having heavy meals, fatty or sugary snacks, caffeine and alcohol two or three hours prior to bedtime; but make sure you’re not hungry while getting ready for bed for an empty stomach will most likely keep you up or worse, disturb your sweet sleep. If you’re hungry at bedtime, get yourself a healthy and light snack. Sassos recommends a handful of nuts as a prefect before-bed snack. Unsalted nuts (especially pistachios) are rich in melatonin, hence helping you sleep better.
10. Watch TV
You probably didn’t expect this option! If your television screen isn’t the blue-light emitting type and you can adjust the brightness on low, go ahead and watch some TV. Again, do NOT get your mind alert and activated by a thrilling movie or horrific news of the day! Watch something light and relaxing to help your thoughts unwind.
11. Do Your Skincare Routine
If you’re too busy or forgetful to stick to a daily skincare routine, add it to your nightly ritual so you’ll maintain skin health before bedtime. This will keep your skin shining bright, while making you feel light, relaxing your body and mind. Complex skincare isn’t necessary; you can simply go for a moisturizer, facial sheet mask or a nice night cream to help your skin regenerate and repair itself overnight.
12. Write in a Journal
A busy mind can significantly disturb your sleep. Writing your thoughts and incidents of the day in a journal before bedtime. It will help you uncoil your thoughts, gradually relaxing the body as well. Keeping a nightly journal will make you feel mentally organized, automatically making you feel better. A calm mind is proven to result in physical health, improved immune system and emotional well-being.
13. Stay Hydrated
“Hydration has a significant impact on your sleep quality and energy level,” explains Sassos. Living body slowly loses dehydrates during sleep, and it will get worse if you forget to drink enough water through the day. Remember not to drink plenty of liquids before bedtime; you don’t want the need of going to bathroom waking you up at midnight. Wisest way to approach this matter, is to avoid drinking too much a few hours prior to bedtime.
14. Make a to Do List for Tomorrow
We already mentioned writing in a journal, but you can be more farsighted and prepare a to-do list for the day after. This will particularly help if the tasks you’ve got to tackle tomorrow are stressing you. Writing down your tasks will relax your mind, while increasing productivity. According to a recent study, people who wrote down their to-do list for tomorrow before bedtime fall asleep much easier compared to individuals who write about tasks they’ve already accomplished.
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