People engage in a handful of mindless habits that can prevent them from getting a good night's rest.
Some of these habits include:
1. Consuming caffeine after 3:00pm
2. Consuming alcohol
3. Engaging in screen activity
4. Eating a large meal close to bedtime
5. Exercising an hour before bed
Furthermore, diet and exercise can affect sleep. If you consume a large meal, an excessive amount of caffeine, or alcohol in the late afternoon or early evening, your body may be unable to reach a relaxed enough state to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. Your stomach may feel full, your mind could possibly be wired or racing, leaving your body in an alert state before bedtime. In addition, exercise can also get in the way of getting a good night's rest if practiced during evening hours. Exercise stimulates both the mind and body and can give you a boost of energy. If you would like to do exercise at the end of the day, you should try to do this at least 3-4 hours before you anticipate going to bed.
If practiced near bedtime, utilizing screens such as phone, computer, and/or television can stimulate the mind. If you are immersed in a show on television or engaged in a conversation with a friend, your mind may be more alert. The same can be said for working on your laptop in bed. Even if you are doing this during the day, your body is going to associate being awake and alert while in bed. Our bodies pick up on routines easily and therefore, if you work in the same place you want to sleep, your body is going to become accustomed to being awake when you are in this location. Also, the light that comes from these screens can delay the release or reduce the amount of melatonin in the body which can lead to the inability of falling asleep. Therefore, it is important to shut off all screens approximately 1-2 hours before you wish to fall asleep.
In order to get a more restful sleep, it may be useful to:
1. Read an hour before bed which can allow the mind to relax and decompress from daily stressors.
2. Do not have caffeine after 3pm since caffeine is a stimulant which can keep you awake or interrupt your sleep.
3. Reduce your screen time to at least 1.5 hours before you go to bed because staring at the screen can keep your mind racing and your eyes stimulated.
4. Wash your face, brush your teeth, and get comfortable in a good position in bed an hour before you go to sleep.
5. Develop a consistent routine so your body knows what to expect each night.
6. Avoid large meals and alcohol later in the day. If your stomach is full, you will not be able to rest comfortably.
7. Exercise regularly but be sure to not do this at least 3-4 hours before you are ready to go to sleep.
8. Try to wake at the same time every day, even if you have off from work.