People often engage in a variety of habits before bed that can not only keep them awake for part of the night, but also lead to restless, broken sleep. Some of these habits are as follows:
More specifically, exercise and diet can have a significant impact on your ability to have a restful sleep. If you consume a heavy meal, an excessive amount of caffeine, or alcohol in the late afternoon or early evening, your body will be unable to come to a relaxed state when you are ready to fall asleep. Your stomach will feel full, your mind will be wired and racing, and your body will not be able to find a sense of calmness. The same is to be said for exercise. Exercising 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 2-3 hours before you anticipate going to bed.
Being on your screens, whether it be through your phone, computer, or television can be stimulating before you want to go to sleep. If you are immersed in a story on television or engaged in a conversation with friends, your mind is going to be alert and wanting to know what is going to happen next. In addition, the light that comes from these screens can delay the release or reduce the amount of melatonin in the body. This can then lead to the inability to fall asleep. Therefore, it is important to shut all screens off approximately 1 to 2 hours before you wish to fall asleep. The same can be said for working from your laptop in bed. Even if you are doing this during the day, your body is going to begin to associate being awake and alert while in your 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.
My tips for getting a more restful sleep are as follows:
1. Reading an hour before bed 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 a half 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 2-3 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.