You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again. Sleep is so important for your health! Many aspects of the body are rejuvenated during this time. Your cells are repaired, your digestive system is given a break (if you don’t eat right before bed), your heart rate and blood pressure drop, growth hormones are released, your immune system is strengthened, and much more.
With all this being said you should ask yourself if you are getting adequate sleep or not. If you are not, then you should try cutting out the following things before going to bed.
Never Do These Things Before Going To Bed
- Sleep with a light on. Even the tiniest light from a nightlight, alarm clock, or cell phone can disrupt your sleep, specifically your internal clock and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin. It is important to sleep in complete darkness or as close enough to it as possible. Be sure to close your bedroom door, consider getting blackout curtains, and keep the lights off at nighttime, even if you are getting up to go to the washroom. If some of these blackout methods are not an option for you, consider getting an eye mask for sleeping. Keeping all the light out can even decrease your chance of getting cancer.
- Keep the temperature of your bedroom higher than 20 C (or 70 F). Many people keep their bedrooms too warm, and studies have shown that the ideal temperature for sleep is between 15 C and 20 C. If your room is cooler or hotter than this it could easily lead to restless sleep. Around 4 hours after you fall asleep, your body’s internal temperature drops to its lowest temperature. A cooler environment is believed to be more conducive to sleep because it mimics this natural drop of body temperature.
- Use a loud alarm clock to wake you up in the morning. Everyone knows how obnoxious these things can be. They can also be stressful to your body upon waking; being jolted awake suddenly is not a good way to wake up. Consider getting a wake up light, which mimics the natural rising of the sun with soft, increasing sounds of nature. You can also download an app for your phone, just remember to turn off the flashing lights while you are sleeping, and keep it at least 3 feet from your bed, which brings us to our next point…
- Keep electronic devices near your bed. This includes: alarm clocks, televisions, phones, e-readers etc. These devices have been shown to disrupt sleep patterns and can also produce electromagnetic fields which can disrupt the pineal gland and melatonin and serotonin production. You should also consider drastically cutting down your use of electronics for a few hours before you climb into bed.
- Change your bedtime. It sounds difficult to avoid, but once you get into a healthy sleep routine, you will eventually feel really good and you may find you no longer need an alarm clock at all, which will solve some of the above issues! If you can make an effort to go to sleep and wake up at the same time (even on weekends), you will see some amazing benefits and likely be able to fall asleep easier at night and get out of bed easier in the morning.
Before Getting Into Bed
Consider reading a book, giving yourself (or getting a partner to give you) a massage, taking a hot bath, or diffusing some lavender oil essential oil before going to bed!