Great sleep requires even better habits. Do you ever find yourself wondering why you can’t achieve a better sleep schedule? Or maybe you think that the quality of sleep you’re getting could use some improvement? It might be a result of a poor decision or two within your daily routine. Consider the following tips and mistakes to get more restful nights.
Do #1: Set A Strict Schedule
If your current sleep schedule is all over the place, your body may not detect whether or not it’s time to go to bed. This is because your body’s melatonin production is irregular if you fall asleep at various times. Waking up every morning at the same time is also known to help insomnia (4). Regardless of what time you have to be awake, try keeping a consistent AM/PM schedule.
Don’t #1: Staying Awake When Tired
If it’s the end of the day and you’re feeling exhausted, try not to push yourself. Sleep deprivation can change the body’s chemistry and mental state, making it more difficult for the brain to detect feelings of fatigue (5).
Do #2: Eat A Snack Rich in Melatonin
In the mood for a late-night snack? Try munching on something that will also help you drift to sleep. Various foods with high levels of melatonin, aka the sleep hormone, include tart cherries, pistachios, whole oats, eggs, and rice (6). Tip: Never opt for a sugary treat prior to bedtime.
Don’t #2: Dink Caffeine Close to Bedtime
We get it, you might find yourself needing a boost throughout the day. However, it’s important that you don’t consume coffee after 3:00 in the afternoon (1). Doing so can delay the time it takes to feel tired. Tip: Drink water instead. Staying hydrated can prevent you from feeling sluggish, and is great for your overall well-being.
Do #3: Read A Relaxing Book
After a long day of work, your mind can still be racing at bedtime. Unwind with a relaxing book, such as a comedy or lighthearted fiction. According to The Sleep Council, roughly 39% of people who read before bed experience higher quality sleep, as doing so helps to relax your muscles and promotes a feeling of relaxation (2).
Don’t #3: Spend Time On Your Phone
Spending time on our electronic devices comes with endless distractions, but there are significant reasons to avoid them before bed. Cell phones emit blue light, which is shown to limit your melatonin production, the sleep hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle (3). If enough melatonin isn’t present within the body, you’ll have a difficult time falling asleep. Tip: Try spending at least 30-60 minutes before bed without looking at a phone or computer screen.
Do #4: Keep the Room At A Cool Temperature
While we sleep, our bodies repair themselves on a cellular level. This process mostly occurs during the REM cycle, which is also when our temperature drops to the lowest point. By keeping your room at a cool temperature, studies show that it can allow the body to transition more efficiently to the REM cycle (7). By promoting time spent in REM sleep, you’re also allowing for a much deeper sleep.
Don’t #4: Keep Your Space Untidy
Let’s face it, living in a messy environment can be a stressor. Beginning and ending your day in a room full of clutter can induce anxiety, which prevents your bedroom from having a relaxing atmosphere. Make sure that all of your things have a place, and remove anything that doesn’t belong.
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