We all wish we could sleep better at night. Sleep is an essential function that recharges your body and keeps you healthy. Our daily activities affect how well we sleep, especially things we do right before bedtime. Certain activities can lead to a restless night and poor quality of sleep. If you want to feel more refreshed in the morning, cut out some of these activities from your nighttime routine.
Here are some things you shouldn’t do before bed:
Letting stress get the best of you. If you’re feeling stressed about work or your personal life, the worrying can keep you up at night. When you finally close your eyes after a long day, you tend to start thinking about things on your to-do list or things that are bothering you. This usually results in a sleepless night where you feel even more stressed the next day. Try some techniques to relax before bed, like light stretching or meditation. It can help clear your mind and make it easier to fall asleep.
Taking a hot shower or bath. Some people may feel relaxed after taking a warm bath or shower before bedtime, but it may actually be keeping you awake. Your body produces a natural sleep hormone when your body temperature lowers and there is a decrease in natural light. When you take a hot bath, it raises your body temperature and tricks the body into thinking that it is not the time for bed yet. If you prefer bathing at night, try to do it at least two hours before going to bed.
Using your electronics. Electronics have bright lights that stimulate your senses and keep you alert. Checking your phone, email or social media makes it hard to disconnect and relax at night. Keep phones, laptops, and e-readers out of the bedroom and stop using them at least an hour before bed.
Eating a heavy meal right before going to sleep. When you eat a large meal right before bed, you might fall asleep easier but it affects your overall quality of sleep. You may wake up more during the night as your body digests all that food. Spicy foods can cause indigestion or discomfort, which will also wake you up. Having alcohol, caffeine or cigarettes before bed can have similar effects that trigger wakefulness throughout the night. If you want to curb late night cravings, eat a light snack such as milk and cereal or half a turkey sandwich.
Exercising. Having a workout right before bed makes you feel more energetic and raises your body temperature, making it hard to feel sleepy. However, exercise is good for your sleep when done at the right time of day. Working out in the afternoon gives you enough energy to power through the rest of the day and tires you out so you can sleep at night. Fitness experts say around 5 or 6 p.m. is the best time for your workout. If you can only work out at night, try a nighttime yoga routine instead of weightlifting or cardio. It helps relax your mind and body.
Making a few of these changes can help you sleep better and feel better. To get your best sleep, experts recommend sticking to a consistent sleep schedule. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day – even on weekends and holidays!