Sleep is tough. Most of the time we aren’t getting enough of it even though there are too many legitimate studies proving that we desperately need it as humans. Not getting enough time in dreamland can lead to weight gain, weaken the immune system, and make you feel foggy the next day. What if we told you that you can help yourself with this sleep problem? If you’re constantly having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, avoid doing these six things before bedtime.
Staring at a Screen
In this day and age, it’s difficult to avoid looking at your phone or computer for more than an hour. Heck, they even have good night apps now that are created with the sole purpose of helping us sleep, which can be great, but you have to look at your phone to get them set up before you go to sleep. So, not all that helpful. The blue light these devices emit stimulates the brain, making it harder for the body to unwind, relax, and sense that it’s time for bed. Even watching your favorite show on TV can cost you a good night’s sleep.
Try skipping the screen and reach for a good book or audiobook instead. Give the brain a chance to not be overstimulated because, chances are, it is high over stimulated all day. You can also try turning on the blue-blocker function on your smartphone if you absolutely have to use it before bed.
Depending on your job, this can go hand in hand with avoiding screens. However, on the other hand, this can also just simply have to do with stress. If you have a big meeting in the morning or a project due at the end of the week, getting some work done after dinner may ease your mind. Just be sure to put your work away at least an hour before going to sleep to give your brain a break, so you can go to sleep feeling calm, not anxious about tomorrow’s deadlines. Try meditation after work to give your mind the chance to slow down and calm itself before you jump into bed.
Caffeine is many things. Some of the more obvious ones are things like coffee and certain types of teas. But it is also in chocolate and sugary drinks. If you drink or eat something with caffeine even 5 hours before you go to sleep, it could affect that night’s rest. The same goes for alcohol. Drinking a glass of vino too close to bedtime, or drinking two or three, will prevent you from having a restful night of sleep (even if you pass out fast).
Eating Greasy or High-Fat Foods
You may like the taste of this food but your stomach does not like trying to digest it. This keeps your body working overtime breaking down Greasy, heavy-fat foods that it otherwise would not want. This causes discomfort that can also make it difficult to sleep. Stay away from fast food, ice cream, and these other foods right before bed.
This does not mean don’t exercise. Exercising regularly is the key to sleeping well at night, however, hitting the gym right before you’re about to attempt sleeping isn’t the best idea. Aside from needing to eat right after, it revs up your heart rate and your energy levels, making it difficult for your body and mind to settle down enough to fall asleep. Finish your workout three hours before you plan to hit the hay.
Getting Emotionally Wound Up
Think of it as turning off your engine. If you leave your car on and parked and let it ideally run, it will eventually run out of gas. The same can be said for your emotions. Bickering with your sister on the phone, watching a disturbing show on TV, or reading an emotionally taxing book isn’t exactly helping you on the road to relaxation. This leaves your “emotional engine” running, causing you to not sleep well and, in turn, eventually “run out of gas”. Prevent getting your nerves and emotions wound up by engaging in calming activities like reading a light novel, sipping herbal tea, taking a hot bath, or doing some gentle stretches or meditation in bed.