6 steps to a better sleep
Doing the right things in the hour before bedtime can make all the difference in how well you sleep. That’s right: Sleep quality can be drastically impacted by your pre-bedtime ritual.
That’s important because research has shown better — not necessarily longer — sleep is associated with myriad superior cognitive functions, including better learning, memory, and mood. Plus, high-quality sleep is linked to lower blood sugar and better weight management.
Here are the top things you should do in the hour leading up to sleep according to sleep experts.
1 ENJOY A WIND-DOWN ACTIVITY
This can be a calming thing to look forward to, whether it’s reading a book, rinsing off in a lukewarm shower, or simply writing down some things you’re grateful for from the past 24 hours. Think about what activities help you wind down or make you more alert and keep those that help you wind down closer to bedtime and schedule those that make you more alert as early as possible, to reduce the risk of them interfering with bedtime.
2 SET ASIDE JUDGEMENT
Maybe it’s one of those days when you’re not making your way to bed as soon as you’d like. Instead of focusing on how little sleep you may get and worrying about the situation, try to redirect your mind to other, more positive things, understanding that you will be OK if you don’t sleep well that night.
3 TAKE A WARM BATH OR SHOWER
About an hour before bed is a great time to wash away the stress of the day. Experts found either a warm bath or shower pre-sleep can improve sleep quality and help a person fall asleep. Using a lavender fragranced body wash or soap, as well as applying relaxing body oil or moisturizer after, will level up the all relaxing experience. Just make sure not to do it too close to shuteye, as your body temperature needs time to return to normal. One hour (or a little more) before lights out is perfect.
4 AVOID DOOMSCROLLING
Avoid things that can potentially increase stress, worry, or strong emotions, which could include everything from social media to emails or news. Think twice before you just check your work email one last time before bedtime, and consider avoiding screens altogether at this part of the day.
5 PREPARE YOUR SLEEP SPACE
You want to make sure your bed is used only for sleep, and it’s ready for you when you decide to hop in. When you create a conditioned response that the bed is only used for sleep, it allows your brain to create an association between bed and sleep. So, avoid reading in bed, watching TV in bed, and even snoozing your alarm in bed for too long in the morning.
6 AVOID EATING AND DRINKING
Eating or drinking too close to bedtime gives our body something else to focus on when it should be shifting into a snooze state. Especially when it comes to alcohol or a nightly glass of wine, which may help you get to bed, but disrupts your REM cycle lessening your sleep quality. The more time you can put between your drinks and your head hitting the pillow, the better.
AND REMEMBER: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Relaxation does not always come automatically. Give yourself time to learn how to relax the mind and handle your emotions. For instance using mindfulness, relaxation techniques, and scheduling time for reflection can all be great. Be gentle with your bedtime buffer zone, and allow yourself some time to get used to your new routine.
Take a look at the expert’s opinions: