Having a good night’s sleep isn’t just dependent on having a good pillow or a quality mattress. Your quality of sleep also depends a lot on what happens before you even climb into bed for the nigh. Below, we've listed some things to do before bed that will help you get the rest you deserve:
- Stay away from caffeine! It seems like a no-brainer not to drink caffeine directly before bed, but did you know that caffeine stays in your system for up to 12 hours? That means a mid-afternoon coffee-booster can mess up your sleep later at night. To make sure that caffeine isn't affecting your sleep, play it safe and skip the post-lunch caffeinated drinks.
- Let it go. There's a reason that the phrase, "Don't go to bed angry." is so popular; because it's true! Anger and stress trigger the "fight or flight" response in your brain, and that causes a serious increase of adrenaline in your brain. Adrenaline is what makes you feel hyped up before going on a big roller coaster, and what makes you anxious and jumpy during a super scary movie. It's pretty much the antithesis of calm and relaxed! Even if you argued with a friend earlier or are upset with a person or situation, do your best to resolve the conflict before bed, so that your brain can calm down from its adrenaline-pumped state.
- Reduce your alcohol intake. There's nothing more relaxing some nights than enjoying a good book and a glass of red wine in bed. Or at least, that's how it feels in the moment. However, alcohol reduces your overall sleep quality and is likely to wake you up later in the night.
- Don't exercise late at night. If you like go to the gym after work, try to plan it three or four hours before bed. Exercise stimulates your mind and body. Even though you may feel tired after working out, your body is boosted with extra energy and stimulating endorphin that need time to calm down before your mind can slip into deep, restful sleep.
- Avoid late-night meals. Consuming food later at night can impede your ability to sleep. Eat at least two hours before bed, avoiding fatty or spicy foods that can be difficult to digest.
- Kick the habit. Nicotine is a stimulant, and just like adrenaline and the work-out endorphins, it can prevent you from getting a good night's sleep. In addition, heavy smokers can sometimes go through withdrawal symptoms at night while sleeping, and that can also disrupt the sleep process.
- Create a cutoff time for liquids. Just like kids, adults should steer clear of late-night liquids. Beverages before bed increase the chances that you'll have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
- Cut back on the bedtime conversations. Although sometimes it may feel like the only time you have to discuss things with your partner is once you're both settled down bed away from work or other distractions. However, bed is not the best place to discuss problems, talk about bills, or recap a tough day at work. Conversations like that fuel anxiety and stress, and can impede you from going to sleep.
Following these tips won't guarantee you perfect sleep, but cutting back on these bad pre-bedtime habits can significantly improve your quality of sleep. What are some things you do to wind down before bed?