When was the last time you fell asleep as soon as you hit the bed? A good night’s sleep as become the number one item in our “to do”list. Getting a good sleep and starting your day with energy is about the best thing you can do for yourself, but it is a tall order.
With a few small adjustments to your morning and nightly routines, however, you can feel more awake and active each day.
After a toiling day, it is natural to feel tired and the body sends a message to the brain saying it needs rest. Then the sleep center becomes active and does things to put the body at rest and get a good sleep. For many reasons your body will not understand that you want it to sleep for the next eight hours. Let us take a look at some simple things you can do (or you should not do) to get the rest you need.
Exercise is a very important part of our life and is quite critical for a healthy body; however, there is a time to exercise your body. Any type of physical work out within 3 hours of going to bed increases the body temperature and makes it difficult for us to fall asleep. The best time for exercise is early in the morning or the evening hours. Studies have shown that exercising before going to bed takes the sleep away, but when done in morning contributes to a better sleep.
Watch TV or surf internet
Most of us watch TV or read our emails on our laptop before going to bed. Studies have shown that going face to face with screens before going to bed reduces the ability to sleep. The glowing lights coming from the screens of TV and laptop decreases the production of melatonin which is the hormone responsible for making you fall asleep. All sorts of screens should be avoided at least 1 hour before going to bed.
Many children like to fall asleep to television, but television can actually interfere with the ability to fall asleep and to sleep soundly. Research shows that even the light from a bright alarm clock can be enough to keep us from falling asleep (face clocks away from the bed). And some electronics like computers and video games are mentally stimulating which keeps the brain from winding down.
Getting work done stimulates your brain and can cause you unneeded stress, pretty much the opposite of what you want to feel if you are trying to fall asleep.
Drink too many fluids
Alcoholic beverages and caffeine-based fluids like coffee make it difficult to sleep well at night. Even too much water should not be consumed right before you go to sleep. If you drink too much water or any other drink before going to bed, you are more likely to wake up in the middle of the night for washroom breaks. This, however, does not mean that you should go to bed thirsty. Striking the right balance is the key to a good night sleep.
Have serious conversations
Having serious conversations make you agitated and keeps your mind full of thoughts. When you try to sleep, these thoughts do not let you sleep. Studies have proved that sleeping right after a fight preserves the emotions until you wake up in the morning. It is a good idea to avoid talking to people like your boss, boyfriend/girlfriend, subordinates, etc who have the capacity to make you angry.
Read engrossing stories
Many of us read our favorite novels for some time before going to bed. There is no problem with reading novels or stories; however, reading engrossing stories right before going to sleep is not a very good idea. Reading such stories keeps you tied to your reading place and the time passes by very quickly leaving you with very little time to sleep before you wake up in the morning. Finding a boring story to read before going to bed is actually a good idea as it will not interest you much making you feel drowsy.
Take a hot bath
Taking a warm shower before bed can actually induce sleep. But taking bath with hot water do raises the temperature of the body making it difficult for us to sleep. Our body temperature drops at night, and hot water bath makes it rise again taking away the relaxation.
We should not over eat before going to bed. Over eating before going to bed with a full belly stimulates the brain waves which can result in bad dreams at night. These bad dreams become worse if you eat anything unhealthy.
Playing with kids
We want to teach our child’s brain and body to associate bed with sleep. The more they are in bed awake doing things other than sleep the less strong this association will be. Bring your child into bed for stories or other wind-down activities, but do not have them play in the bed for hours before bedtime. Encourage your teenager to not lie in bed and watch television or text before going to sleep.
Don’t wait to worry at bedtime
Often the worries and stresses from the day catch up to us at bedtime when our brain finally gets a break. Simply writing down all the worries in our minds can be enough to gain perspective over them and take away their power.