1. Set your phone out of reach before bed.The research is crystal clear on blue light, which is the type of light that your cellphone emits. There are several types of light wavelengths in the spectrum, but blue light wavelengths specifically help boost attention, reaction times, and mood, which is great… unless you want to sleep. Keeping that bright monitor a few inches from your face at night (with the lights turned off), only amplifies the blue light effect on your body. It messes up your circadian rhythm, or your “sleep algorithm.” If you’re normal like I am (well, we’re all a bit weird), you put your phone down, turn your head the other way on the pillow, wait 30 seconds, and grab your phone again to scroll through a feed. (But if you involuntary grab your phone that much, maybe you should try a digital detox.) Rinse and repeat.
2. Cool it on the pre-sleep margaritas.Do you fancy gin at the onset of dusk? Do you enjoy watching the strains of ruby red wine drip down the crystal frame of your glass? Maybe you just drink whatever someone hands you. Maybe you’re straight edge. Regardless of your flavor, alcohol ruins your sleep. Most of the time. For some, alcohol can actually improve their sleeping schedule–but don’t covet them. That’s a small fringe. For those who have heavier dosages of alcohol at night, they might experience disturbances in their sleep in the second half of their nocturnal sleep period. You might find that after a night of “excessive” drinking–this depends on your genetics, and provided you’re of age–you reach groggily to your nightstand, praying for a large glass of water to quench your body that is currently experiencing an internal drought. That means you overdid it.
3. Don’t exercise right before bed.Everyone and his/her mother has told us for years that exercise is healthy for us in innumerable ways. But did they tell us when we should exercise? Well, it depends on your Netflix schedule, am I right? Yes. Studies have shown that our exercise can directly help our sleep, and can even aid in instances of chronic insomnia. But it matters when we exercise, too. If you exercise too close to the time when you’re readying to doze off, your body may not cooperate best. If the exercises you did were anaerobic or rather vigorous, your body-heat may be too high to settle you down into a staunch slumber. This means… you can exercise earlier, watch Netflix after, and then go to sleep soundly. Sweet!
4. Dim your lights in the evening.You can do this to be romantic, sure. If it’s just you and the mirror, though… don’t. That’s going to make us all sad for you. Your circadian rhythm responds to light–and this is probably the biggest factor in your body patterns. It’s simple:
- If it’s light around you, your body says it’s time to be awake.
- If it’s dark, it’s time to assume your oddly gymnastic position in your bed and sleep.
5. Stop sleeping in a sauna.It dosen’t matter if you sleep naked or clad in 8 layers: if you’re hot in bed, your sleep will suck. If you’re sweating during sleep, or if you wake up looking like an ogre leaving a swamp, maybe it’s time to ditch some of the layers. Or, if it’s summer, be a minimalist when it comes to your nighttime accoutrement. Whatever you need to do to shed the heat, do so. However, I can’t prescribe nudity for you, so if you’re going nude and someone stumbles upon your bareness: it’s your fault and I’m innocent.
6. Watch the caffeine in the evening.Most normal people have a caffeine vice: may it be coffee, soda-pop, energy pills, etc. But again, most normal people drink that stuff in the daytime, unless they have a night shift. Caffeine, or any type of similar stimulant, is great for energy (especially when it’s natural energy) but not so friendly toward your sleep when taken at night. A study a few years ago analyzed people consuming caffeine in different time intervals before going to bed. They found that having caffeine even 6 hours before sleep can be disruptive to your sleep schedule. So even if your relatives from London are visiting in the eve, refuse the tea and tell them you’re sick or something. You want sleep, and nothing is splitting up you and your bed.
7. You worry about tomorrow too much.Can you believe that anxiety can actually affect our sleep? Anxiety affects everything and everyone. A wise one who lived and roamed long ago said something supremely wise about worry:
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.Truly, even if something harrowing is happening to you tomorrow (and you’re sure of it…), don’t sweat it. Your sleep–your well-being–is more important than whatever tomorrow holds. So sleep soundly. But don’t let a leg hang off the bed… ’cause… you know. boogeyman.