We’ve all experienced our share of sleepless nights. Maybe you are looking for a way to battle the insomnia you’ve been experiencing lately, or maybe you just want to improve the quality of your sleep. The sleep tips that follow can help you to do just that!
Food and Drink
Cherries are a great source of melatonin, a naturally-occurring chemical in your brain that is essential for sleep. Consuming a handful of this antioxidant-packed fruit an hour before you go to sleep can help you to fall asleep faster and have deeper, more restorative and continuous sleep.
DON’T: Alcohol & Caffeinated Beverages
Caffeine is an obvious “don’t” right before bedtime, but professionals suggest cutting caffeine as early as the beginning of the afternoon to avoid negative effects to your sleep later on. Alcohol, on the other hand, is not as obvious. Although your pre-sleep cocktail may help you fall asleep, consuming alcohol before bed actually increases your chances of waking up during the night. This is because your body will start to digest the alcohol throughout the night, causing restlessness.
DO: Exercise Regularly
Getting active during the day can help you to sleep better at night because it reduces stress and causes positive chemical changes in the brain, such as the release of serotonin. However, make sure your exercise time isn’t too close to bedtime, because it can actually cause you to stay awake. Try to schedule your workout for the morning, but if that doesn’t work, just make sure it ends a couple of hours before bed.
DON’T: Engage in Stressful and Distracting Activities
Make sure your bed is a sleep-only space, and your brain will better affiliate your bedroom with sleep. Working, surfing the web or looking at your phone in your bed and too close to bedtime will make it harder to shut off your brain and will associate your sleeping space with stress.
DO: Set the Mood
Getting amazing sleep is all about making your space relaxing and serene. Make sure your bedroom is dark, with little to no light. This will increase melatonin levels and help your brain to completely shut off and avoid distractions. You can do this by investing in a good set of curtains, shutting down all electronic devices and even investing in a pair of eye covers. Temperature is also important, because a room that is too hot or too cold can affect your quality of sleep. The ideal sleeping temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
DON’T: Get Distracted
The presence of electronics and lights can cause quality of sleep to plummet. Therefore, it is essential to power down any electronic devices an hour before bed. Looking at electronics before you go to sleep can cause depletion in melatonin levels, and keeping them on while you sleep increases your chance of being awoken during the night (especially cell phones). If you use your phone for an alarm, you can set it to “Do Not Disturb” mode, where it will not receive phone calls except from a list of favorites. This way, you can decrease your chance of being awoken by a late-night phone call.