Restful Sleeping Tips
Trouble falling and staying asleep can set you up for chronic fatigue, mood and memory issues, a slower metabolism, even reduced immune-system functioning.
An hour before you plan to hit the sack, start taking on these research-backed pre-sleep rituals. Making them part of your nightly routine will help you drift off to dreamland and score the restorative sleep your brain and body need.
Dim the lights
Think of darkness as nature’s sleeping pill, cueing your body to crank out melatonin, the hormone that helps you wind down. Turning down the lights ahead of your bedtime ramps up melatonin production, so you can successfully doze off.
Turn down the heating
The ideal snooze temperature is about 65 degrees, according to the National Sleep Foundation. That’s because the cooler you are, the sleepier you become. No wonder your body is designed to experience a natural temperature dip at nighttime. If the room is too hot or you’re wrapped in too many blankets, your body temperature will rise, and that can make you restless.
Switch off your devices
Save your Netflix binge or email catch up time for earlier in the evening. The light from the screen of your computer, tablet or phone is blue spectrum light, and it’s particularly dangerous because it tells the brain to stop secreting melatonin.
Stay away from the snacks
Finish dinner no later than three hours before bedtime, so you give your stomach time to digest, and you won’t be kept awake by heartburn, gas or a sugar- or caffeine-fueled energy surge.
You don’t have to be so messy that you’re a candidate for “Hoarders” for this ritual to work. Neatening up your bed covers and bookshelves or putting away laundry piles or other ordinary bedroom clutter has the weird effect of also de-cluttering your brain. It subconsciously helps get rid of the anxiety and stress swirling in your mind that can keep you up when it’s time to sleep.
No alcohol before bed
Alcohol plays a nasty trick on your body. Drinking within three hours of bedtime helps you nod off — booze is a depressant, after all. But once the alcohol is metabolized hours later, you’re more likely to wake up or start tossing and turning. That’s because while any amount of alcohol can increase short-wave sleep — the kind you get in the first half of the night that repairs body tissues and boost your immune system — it can disrupt REM sleep, the later sleep stage that encourages learning and memory formation.
Save stressful activities till the next day
The whole point of a bedtime ritual is to relax your body and set the stage of nodding off. So fighting with your significant other, paying off cringe-inducing bills or doing any other activity that has the potential to raise your blood pressure should be put off until the next day if you can help it. Wait until you’re refreshed and ready to handle heavy topics.
Decaffeinated herbal teas like chamomile and passion fruit have a calming and sedative effect on the body. Plus, there’s something comforting about having a hot beverage before bed. Just creating the habit of pouring a cup may help signal your body that it’s time for sleep, helping you relax and unwind.
Smell something nice
Inhaling serene scents is a great way to ensure a restful and relaxing night’s sleep. Evidence suggests certain aromas may actually reduce blood pressure and heart rate, creating a calming effect in the body. Mist this sedating scent around your room, over your pillow and even on your body for a soothing bedtime ritual:
- ½ ounce of Rose Hydrosol
- ½ ounce distilled water
- 4 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil
- 4 drops Patchouli essential oil
- 8 drops Sandalwood essential oil
Combine the ingredients into a 1 oz misting bottle. Shake gently before misting.