Your bedtime habits are very important, especially if you want to be healthy. A bedtime routine doesn’t have to take much time or effort, but it can make a big difference in your day-to-day well-being. If you struggle with sleeping, here are some bedtime habits that will help you stay healthy and energized throughout the day.
Sleep on Time
As a general rule, sleeping on time means making sure you go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day. If you’re going to bed too late or getting up too early, your circadian rhythm might be thrown off, which can lead to sleep deprivation. By keeping your sleep schedule consistent from night tonight, you get into a routine that helps your body get ready for bed when it should be ready for bed. Even if you have a job that requires being out late or getting up early in spite of your preferred schedule, stick with it! This may not be easy at first but eventually, your body will adjust so that you’re able to fall asleep and wake up more quickly and easily than before.
Exercise Before Bed
If you’re new to exercise, it might seem counterintuitive to work out right before bed. After all, you’re supposed to relax and wind down—not get amped up and revved up. However, research indicates that a moderate workout can be just what your body needs for an excellent night’s sleep. Some of that may have to do with exercise itself; as noted by The National Sleep Foundation (NSF), exercise releases chemicals called endorphins, which make us feel happy and less anxious. It also helps our bodies produce hormones like melatonin, which help regulate our internal clocks and encourage quality rest. Exercise is also known to improve blood flow throughout our bodies, especially when it’s consistent. This makes us healthier overall and improves the quality of our rest at night.
Eat Right Before Sleep
If you eat a big dinner right before bed, your body will have to work hard to process all of that food while you’re sleeping. When you sleep, digesting food is pretty much at the bottom of your to-do list. If you have something too big in your stomach when you hit the bed, it can lead to serious indigestion or even acid reflux—two things that are definitely not good for your health. Instead, try eating more healthily during dinner so that by bedtime, it’s pretty much digested and ready to go without having had too much time alone with your GI tract.
Limit Screen Use Before Sleep
Turn off your smartphone or tablet at least one hour before you want to go to sleep. Avoid looking at any kind of screen for at least an hour before you go to bed—the blue light emitted from electronic screens interferes with your body’s production of melatonin, which can cause you to have trouble sleeping. Avoid eating late too; eating close to bedtime will keep your stomach full, which might keep you awake. Read a book, take a hot bath, or do some other relaxing activity instead. Aim for consistent bedtime habits and wake-up time each day—routine is key in helping your body establish when it should be alert and when it should be tired. Go to sleep earlier if you find yourself struggling to fall asleep quickly.
Reduce Long Daytime Naps
The longer your sleep stretches during daytime hours, the less you’ll be able to sleep at night. Making sure that you take plenty of breaks throughout each day is important for maximizing energy during waking hours—but do so in short spurts. Long naps will only delay your ability to fall asleep later in the evening and can even increase feelings of stress and anxiety at bedtime. To lose weight safely but quickly, don’t deprive yourself of a little extra shut-eye: just make sure you get enough sleep each night and during the day. Otherwise, you might find yourself wide awake at 2 am!
Natural Light Exposure In The Day
The amount of natural light you get each day is directly related to your sleep. The more natural light exposure, and fewer artificial lights (i.e., electronic devices), at any time during a given day will help you sleep better that night. For example, people who live in areas where it snows or gets dark by 4:00 P.M. will likely have a hard time sleeping well if they spend their days indoors working on computers and smartphones until dark outside. If you do spend your days indoors, try to find ways to get enough natural light exposure at least early in your morning and for an hour or two in your evening so you can feel awake at bedtime. Even simply getting up every couple of hours to move around will help. After all, sunshine makes us happy!
Say No To Caffeine Before Sleep
When your circadian rhythms get out of whack, getting a good night’s sleep can be difficult. When your body expects you to be up and about during a time when you’d normally be sleeping, it’s going to try its hardest to fight off sleepiness. Caffeine is a big part of that—not only does it disrupt your internal clock, but it also disrupts levels of other hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. These stress hormones may actually cause you to wake up in a panic just as you’re about to doze off. Avoiding caffeine at night will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. And you’ll feel better too!
Don’t Drink Alcohol
We all know that getting a good night’s sleep is one of life’s most important keys to staying healthy, but did you know that it can be tough to get a good night’s sleep when you’ve had alcohol in your system? Alcohol does more than relax us; it also depresses our central nervous system, making us feel tired. But once we metabolize it (which takes about an hour), we feel alert again, which can make it tough to fall asleep. But if you’re prone to insomnia or want an extra boost for your health, skip alcohol before bedtime and instead choose warm milk or decaf tea. These choices won’t interfere with your ability to get quality rest.
Good Bedroom Environment
It’s important to have a comfortable, quiet place to sleep so you can fall asleep quickly and stay asleep. Avoid bright lights or electronic gadgets before bed, as they stimulate our minds and bodies, making it harder to rest. It also helps to create a relaxing bedtime habits routine that signals your body that it’s time for sleep—try taking a hot bath, reading a book, or listening to calming music. And if you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, be sure not to use your phone as an alarm clock; removing bright light from your environment is helpful for getting sleep-ready. And don’t even think about hitting snooze either: Your body needs at least nine hours of continuous sleep every night to function well. If you don’t get enough shut-eye, try going to bed earlier rather than sleeping in.
Don’t Eat Late In The Evening
The typical advice is to not eat within 2 hours of going to bed, but there are some pretty healthy ways to fill your stomach when you finally do head for bed. Here are some ideas:
1) Drink a glass of warm milk with honey in it.
2) Crack open an egg and scramble it in a bowl with salt and pepper, or make an omelet.
3) Have half of a turkey sandwich with mustard on whole-wheat bread.
4) Fill up on watermelon or cantaloupe slices instead of cookies.
5) Toss in some dates and walnuts into a blender and mix until smooth, then drink down your snack.
6) Enjoy a few graham crackers with peanut butter spread over them.
7) Pick up an energy bar from the store and keep it handy just in case—energy bars often contain both protein and fiber that will help keep you full throughout the night!
8) Eat about 30 minutes before heading to bed; if dinner’s already past that time, pick something light like yogurt with granola sprinkled on top.
Take A Shower
While you’re doing your skin some good, your body is busy ridding itself of toxins. A study published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology found that people who washed with a basic soap had lower levels of surface bacteria after washing up. Try taking a warm shower at night before bed—the steam will help clear out any impurities.
Bonus: It also helps relax your muscles, making it easier to fall asleep. We all think we’re such healthy individuals because we take baths every day. But what’s really going on is that there’s a big cleanup going on. So grab a bottle of plain old soap rather than a fancy-scented one, she recommends. If you must use aromatherapy products or scented soaps while soaking in water, keep them away from your face so they don’t get into your nasal passages while breathing, which can trigger coughing or sneezing when you get out of the water and dry off. Make shower one of your bedtime habits!
Get A Comfortable Mattress And Pillow
A quality mattress and pillow are essential for a good night’s sleep. A comfortable mattress doesn’t need to be outrageously expensive, but it should feel good to you. Take some time researching mattresses that are within your budget and find one that’s comfortable for you. The same goes for pillows. Look for one that feels right on your head, not too stiff or soft. On average, most people spend one-third of their lives sleeping; if you wake up each morning feeling exhausted, think about what you can do to change your habits so you can get more rest. Getting enough sleep is an important part of living healthy, which is why there are certain bedtime habits that will help with your health.
Melatonin Supplement Before Bed
Take melatonin and make them your one of the bedtime habits. Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by your body at night when it’s time to go to sleep. By supplementing with melatonin, you’ll help your body regulate its circadian rhythm—the natural cycle of day and night in which our bodies feel tired during times they’re usually supposed to be sleeping. Most doctors recommend 3mg of melatonin before bed (ideally 20 minutes before laying down) for anyone that struggles with insomnia or trouble sleeping in general. If you’re already getting enough shut-eye but just want a relaxing bedtime routine, try taking a smaller dose or cutting out any other supplements altogether. In most cases, taking too much of a supplement can have unintended consequences on your health.