Dec 14, 2021
Avoid Doing These Things Before Bed for Best Sleep
Sleep is the time we allow our bodies to restore, regenerate and recover from our hectic lives. No matter how energetic and healthy we work to be, sleep is the factor that limits our vitality and our longevity. Without good restful, restorative sleep, all the other things we do to build health are non-factors.
Unfortunately, many of us do things that interfere with our ability to get a good night’s sleep. We do these things without malice and often without realizing we are jeopardizing our rest.
With sleep being infinitely important in our well-being, how can we improve our ability to spend those restful hours as efficiently as possible? Here are some of the many ways we can improve our sleep performance and benefit from better restoration on a nightly basis:
- Avoid consuming caffeinated drinks after 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon. A cup of joe, in addition to the myriad of energy drinks on the market, might go a long way in helping maintain alertness, but can also lead to restless nights, which then become sleepy, tired days. Caffeine has a half-life of between six to eight hours, drinking it can cost serious rest time at night and lead to reliance on more caffeine the next morning to get going.
- Stop smoking. It is already well known the countless reasons to quit smoking, here’s another one to add to the list. Cigarettes contain nicotine that significantly reduces our ability to fall asleep. Stop smoking, period.
- Avoid using any electronic devices. This includes laptops, cell phones, computers, and any other device that emits blue light. Upon striking the retina, blue light shuts down the normal production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Options to try that do not involve screens of some type are reading a book, stretching, meditating, or writing in a journal.
- Avoid exercise just before going to bed. While it may be difficult to find time during a busy day to exercise, try to allow at least three to four hours after exercising before going to bed. Exercise brings up our energy level and heart rate, making it difficult to flop down and quickly fall asleep.
- Avoid consuming heavy foods or large meals close to bedtime. Our digestive system was meant to be at rest when we sleep – not hard at work. If we are hungry close to bedtime it is best to eat a small amount of food that does not contain a lot of calories. This will keep our digestive tract from kicking into high gear and keeping us up half the night.
- Avoid serious conversations and worrying before hitting the pillow. If we have difficult conversations that need to be worked through, mutually agree to a time to pick up the conversation the following day. If there are heavy thoughts and reasons to worry, we can write them down and assure ourselves we will come back to these thoughts the following day. Remember the old saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Heavy conversations and anything that brings on worry can always be handled the next day.
There are many more things to avoid prior to laying our tired heads down for the night. These are just a few positive actions we can take to assist us in our never-ending pursuit of blissful rest. Be Blessed.
Category: Dr. Sterling