I start making your mental checklist for the next day as soon as my head hits the pillow at night. If you’re like me, doctor appointments, school lunches, getting to the post office are just a few things that we remember when it’s far too late to do anything about it. Meanwhile, your spouse puts his head on the pillow and begins snoring. Rather than lie there full of resentment, try one of these simple steps. It’s helped me put the checklist aside and made falling asleep a little easier.
Exercise. Even if you’re just getting out for a 30 minute walk each day, exercise is the most important thing to help you sleep. I know exercise can be a challenge to many people. Maybe you feel like you don’t have time. Maybe you have an injury the prevents you from exercising. Find a way to add some kind of physical activity into your day and you will soon realize that exercise is the key to falling asleep quickly. If you can’t find the time during the day then try some stretching exercises or yoga before you hop in the sack.
Turn off your blue screens and bright lights. Studies have shown that with reduced light from blue screens, smart phones, TVs, computers, or even bright lamps, your brain shuts down quicker. Keep your room dark, cool, and clean.
Cut out the afternoon cup of pick-me-up. Check the labels on your favorite midday energy boosting drinks. If they have caffeine, then make the cutoff by 2:00 pm. Instead opt for caffeine-free tea or flavored water if you need something sweet.
Save your healthiest meal for dinner. Heavy full meals right before bed will not only not digest well, but will give you a restless nights sleep. Opt for a smaller plate, or even a saucer, for your dinner to keep those calories at bay. And try to avoid late-night snacking. If you get hungry before bed, keep it sweet and simple and stick to fruit.
Wine with dinner, not bed. Although it’s true that wine will help you relax and fall asleep faster, it will also make the second half of your sleep cycle restless. Alcohol decreases deep sleep and increases arousals from sleep.
Try to practice at least one of these sleep habits at a time. Sleep not only improves memory, but also increases your metabolism. The benefits of sleep far outweigh what we didn’t get done during the day. If you have any other tips or tricks for a good night’s sleep, let me know!