Okay so you’ve figured out how to kick start your mornings so you can kick ass, but what if you could make your next day even better by your actions the night before. It might sound crazy but creating better habits around bedtime and sleep might take you to that next level so you can have even more energy and happiness than you thought possible.
Why You Need A Bedtime Routine
Establishing a bedtime routine is a fundament thing you can do for a healthier lifestyle and better sleep. Often we find it hard to unwind and relax at the end of a day, especially with stresses such as work and kids. By developing good habits before bed, we can train our bodies to wind down so these stresses don’t affect us as much. By adopting simple habits before sleep, we signal to our bodies that it’s time to sleep so our brains can produce and release the necessary chemicals for us to doze off. Getting started on better sleep means we need to eliminate bad habits and replace them with good ones.
No Afternoon Lattes
The first thing you can do for a good night’s rest happens by 2pm. Before that time, you are free to drink whatever you want but afterwards, you need to stop drinking caffeine. No coffee, no caffeinated tea, no energy drinks, and no coke. Not fair right? Too bad. Caffeine, as you know, is a stimulant and keeps you awake making it harder to fall asleep. This then makes you stay up later, and if you have an early start, it means you’ll wake up feeling more tired and not energized. Replace caffeine drinks with water, non-caffeinated tea, or if it’s before sleep, some warm milk and honey.
Establish A Curfew
As a kid, you might have had a set bed time. I remember when I finally was old enough when set bed times became a thing of the past. It was amazing. Suddenly I could stay up late and no one cared. Well, that is, no one cared except my tired body as I dragged myself off to class the next day. In order to get our bodies use to sleeping better, we need to rest and rise at the same times each day. Yep, that means having a set bed time, even on weekends. Thankfully it’s not as bad as it sounds as sleeping (and waking) at the same time each day has a number of benefits, namely that our circadian rhythms get in tune. This stability helps our bodies adjust, so we are not catching up on sleep that we missed out on having.
Say Goodbye To Late Night Twitter Posting
From the moment we get up until right before we fall asleep, many of us will be on our phones or be glued to some form of electronics. In a blog post listing killjoys, this might be the biggest one. Sorry everyone but you will need to cut this one out and stop using electronics. Thankfully not for long, just one hour before sleep. It is estimated that it only takes an hour for our brains to adjust after staring at the white-and-blue light from ours screens. See exposure to these lights stops our brains from releasing melatonin, the hormone that tells our bodies it’s night and it’s time to sleep. So what can you do with that extra hour if you can’t randomly browse your Facebook feed?
Relax and Unwind
Falling asleep can be especially hard if our minds are stressed, worried, or full of racing thoughts. If you find yourself unable to drift off because of the above, then you need some type of relaxation exercise. And with the extra hour you’ll have spare thanks to turning off all electronic devices, you’ll be able to use it on activities such as meditation, yoga, listening to calming music (nothing excitable, please), or on reading. The key is to focus on a quiet task where you can relax and get in a state where sleep will occur.
That was quick primer on creating bedtime habits. Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg; there are lots more to consider like not exercising 2 hours before bed, or not eating or drinking certain foods too close to sleep. Of course we’ll save those tips and more for another day. See you next time.