Getting enough zzz is vital to achieving a healthy lifestyle. And amid a pandemic, one may have more time for sleep, but most often than not, sleep quality takes a hit, thanks to the additional anxiety and stress from health worries, financial concerns, and other issues.
Observing a nighttime routine can factor into sleep quality, regardless of what’s happening in the world. Your activities in the evening will have a big impact on your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep each night.
Here are nine tips on creating an ideal nighttime routine so you won’t have any trouble getting enough restful sleep daily.
Everyone knows the slew of benefits of drinking water, from helping keep the heart healthy to improving one’s skin. It’s also been proven that dehydration can alter the mood and promote stress in men and women.
Focus on meeting your water intake– drink at least 8-12 glasses a day. Doing so will lead to a better quality of sleep AND help you avoid stress and dehydration.
Cut the p.m caffeine intake
People in desperate need of a pick-me-up always think that brewing another pot of coffee is the answer– even in the late afternoons! Yeah, we’ve all been there. But if we’re talking about boosting your sleep quality, cutting down afternoon and evening coffee is important. Caffeine has a half-life of around five hours, so drinking coffee at 4 p.m. will still affect your system at 9 p.m.
Try a herbal tea or seltzer in place of coffee and enjoy an energizing snack for a caffeine-free afternoon!
Eat a healthy dinner
Good sleep is only a part of the many reasons to eat a healthy dinner as often as you can. Try your best to prepare a delicious, healthy meal so you can help nourish your body, steady your blood sugar, and set you up for sleep success.
Plan meals with complex carbs, protein, and vegetables to keep your energy levels steady, preventing spikes and crashes. Also, be sure to finish eating at least two hours before bedtime so you can digest everything before laying down.
Consistency is key
The circadian rhythm determines our sleep and wake cycles, as our bodies crave consistency. Try your best to get to bed and wake up at similar times each day to put your body on a sleep schedule. Doing so will make you feel ready for bed and refreshed in the morning at an ideal time. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to wind down at night before you want to be asleep, especially when you’re just starting.
Allot time for planning ahead
Doing some planning or tidying up at night will help you feel prepared and accomplished going into the next day. Cut down on morning stress by writing a to-do list for the following day(s)! Keep it light and simple, though, so you won’t pile on any stressful thoughts before bedtime.
Avoid screen time
Did you know that the light emitted by the screens of our TVs and gadgets can suppress the production of our sleep hormone, melatonin? Artificial light also tends to shift our circadian rhythms and keep us up later than we’d like, even after logging off. Make sure to shut down your electronics at least 30 minutes before bed to let your melatonin rise.
While vigorous exercise is not ideal right before bed, something more relaxed, like light yoga, can be beneficial for your sleep. Stretching helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which triggers relaxation, making it a great bedtime ritual to wind down.
Write down three things you’re grateful for or follow a guided meditation every night, so you can avoid the stressful thoughts that keep you up at night. Reflecting on your day and intentionally being thankful for what you have will boost your mood and put you in an ideal mental state to rest.
Hygiene is essential
Physical hygiene goes hand-in-hand with having a good night’s sleep. Brushing your teeth, washing your face, or even showering before bed can be soothing and help you feel refreshed and ready to sleep.
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