If you’re anything like me, your night goes something like this. After an exhausting day you brush your teeth get into your Zelda themed pajamas snuggle up in bed, turn the lights off and then… …nothing. *crickets* No, not the good kind of nothing, the “literally 10 seconds ago I felt like I would die if I didn’t get into my bed and now I’m perfectly awake” kind of nothing. So you try to squeeze your eyes tighter, or maybe I’m just not in a comfortable position? Yeah, that’ll solve it! But no. The clock ticks and you become increasingly more aware of every waking second of sleep time that you’re losing and how increasingly bad tomorrow will be. If only you could have just slept at school or work. It was so easy then, but now in the solitude of night, all you have is your deepest, darkest thoughts and that damn clock that– Oh my God it’s been three hours?
So let’s start with seven things you should do before you sleep.
#1 Sleep in a colder environment
Your thermal environment, especially surrounding your head and body, is perhaps the most underappreciated factor determining not only the ease with which you’ll fall asleep tonight, but also your sleep quality. Whether you’re overheating because of heavy blankets, pajamas or just a hot room, it’s been shown to decrease slow-wave sleep and REM sleep. Even just to initiate sleep, your body has to drop 2-3°F or 1.5°C and so being colder actually helps bring your temperature down faster. It might shock you but the recommended temperature is around 65°F or 18.3°C for your room. Going too cold isn’t great either, but it doesn’t have the same disruptive effects on falling asleep or your sleep quality as a hot room does.
#2 Take a hot shower or bath before bed
You might think being all warm and fuzzy is what makes you sleep but it’s actually kind of the opposite. When you’re exposed to hot temperature, the body can’t hold on to the heat and sends blood to the surface of your skin, giving you that flushed red appearance. Once you step out of the warmth, the dilated blood vessels radiate out the inner heat to your environment and your core body temperature plummets. This triggers the body and brain to think it’s sleepy time.
#3 Put away the clock
Simply having the ability to look at and see the time and find out how much you haven’t slept is not helpful and will honestly only stress you out. In fact time monitoring is strongly linked to stress and waking arousal.
#4 Avoid caffeine,nicotine
you should minimise or avoid caffeine and nicotine,coffee, colas, some tea and even chocolate, can take as long as eight hours to wear out fully and nicotine is a stimulant. So avoid them too late in the day. It’s also worth avoiding eating too close to bed. While some studies show avoiding diets that are excessively biased towards carbs will help, it’s better to just avoid being too hungry or too full before bed.
Exercising and being physically tired can help you fall asleep faster, but working out 2-3 hours before bed can keep you up longer. So earlier in the day is better and same goes with naps actually, they’re great but don’t take them after 3 p.m or it’ll be harder to fall asleep at night.
#6 Relax Before Bed
to make sure you’re actually relaxing before bed.If you try to sleep and you’re wired or on, your brain just won’t be ready. A relaxing activity within the hour before bed like reading, is the perfect ritual to put you in the right mindset.
#7 Sun Exposure
To make sure you’re getting sun exposure during the day and minimising your light exposure during the evening. You’ve probably been told not to use your screen before bed, which is true, but it’s equally as important to get natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes a day if you have problems falling asleep. This helps to condition your body’s schedule and trigger tiredness at the right times.