We recent wrote a piece on the importance of sleep for the mind and body, where we discussed the effects a poor sleeping pattern can have on us, and it doesn’t make for pleasant reading! Besides the physical effects there can also be mental effects apart from that tired and cranky feeling after a bad nights sleep.
So now let’s look at a few simple tips to help promote a better nights sleep.
Avoid caffeine in the evening
This is a pretty obvious one but still worth mentioning. Caffeine is a stimulant and can enhance focus, energy and sports performance and could even be considered a legal performance enhancing drug! So don’t drink coffee after late afternoon! And remember there is caffeine in tea too.
Reduce screen time before you go to bed.
This is one we are all guilty of.
Blue light from smartphones/tablets and computers tricks your body into thinking it’s daytime. There are a few ways you can reduce blue light exposure at night.
Most smartphones have a night mode which lowers the blue light level, you can set this to automatically come on at certain times.
Avoid watch television in bed.
Turn off bright lights late in the evening.
This may come as a big shock to a lot of people out there who think a glass of wine at night helps them sleep! Having a drink or two at night can negatively affect your sleep and hormones. Alcohol is known to cause or increase the symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns. Alcohol is also a mental stimulant.
Don’t eat late at night
The body has to process the food you eat so eating a big feed can keep you awake. Also some foods are harder to digest so avoid foods like bacon, beef, lamb, whole milk hard cheese, and nuts late at night as your system will be working overtime to digest these which could keep you awake. Also avoid sugary and processed foods.
Exercise regularly but not late at night!
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to ensure a good night’s sleep.
However exercising late in the evening can do the opposite as it can increases alertness and hormones like epinephrine and adrenaline. Exercise also cause the body to heat up which is not the ideal bedtime situation.
Keep regular sleeping hours
Try to get in the habit of waking up and going to bed at similar times. And if you can keep close to this pattern at weekends.
Short power naps are beneficial and if your tried can really re-energise your day, but long or irregular napping during the day can negatively affect your night time sleep.
Don’t drink too much liquids before bed
The more you drink, the more you have to excrete! While it’s vital to stay hydrated do this earlier during the day otherwise you’ll be breaking your sleep cycle by waking to use the bathroom.
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