Image source: Pixabay
While it’s important to create an efficient morning routine that sets you up for a successful day, having a proper evening routine is just as important. With over 60 million Americans suffering from insomnia, creating a proper sleep routine will help you avoid being part of that statistic and improve your overall health.
Sleepless nights have devastating effects on daily routines, and very few people recognize just how harmful sleep deprivation can be. Here are some things to include in your sleeping routine to combat insomnia.
Countless studies have linked exposure to light at night to harmful effects on health, including several kinds of cancer), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Exposure to light, especially the blue light that is emitted from electronic screens, limits the amount of melatonin that the body secretes. This hormone influences circadian rhythms and the body’s natural sleep cycle, so when it is off balance, sleepless nights are more likely to occur.
The best way to help this problem is to avoid bright lights, and especially technology screens for two to three hours before bed. Richard Hansler, who researches light at John Carroll University, revealed in his studies that while regular incandescent lights produce a bit of blue light, it is much less than fluorescent light bulbs and LED screens.
There are so many stressors in daily life, it is important to find a way to let these go and relax at night before going to bed. There are a lot of associated health risks with stress that tie into not getting the sleep your body needs to replenish and repair itself.
There are a few things you can do in the evenings to relax your body and let go of the accumulated stress from the day: take a warm bath, read a book, listen to calming music, do some light stretching or yoga, meditate, practice deep breathing, practice creative visualization, you know, the usual calming stuff.
The takeaway here is: just stop chasing a though or idea. Tell yourself “Stop,” it’s time to rest and be in the moment. Problems are an endless loop you let yourself caught it. So decide that at least at night, you will decompress. Stop the chasing and just breathe.
3. A suitable pillow
According to Dr. Daniel Zagst, a chiropractic physician at Advanced Health & Chiropractic, the most common sleeping position is sleeping on one’s side, and this is also the best position for your spine health.
Having proper support while sleeping in this position is critical to alleviating the pressure that is put on the hips and lower back. Finding a proper side sleeping pillow that keeps your head and neck in line with your body will help reduce the number of times you wake up in the middle of the night to change positions and get comfortable again.
4. A bedtime schedule
It is important for proper sleep hygiene to try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
According to Ethan Green, who founded the website No Sleepless Nights, sticking to a routine is one of the most effective things you can do to improve the quality of your overall sleep.
While this may seem like a difficult thing to do at first, your internal body clock actually thrives on consistency, so your body will adjust easily, even on weekends.
Start by waking up at the same time each day, regardless of what time you go to sleep. Eventually, your body will adjust to this and become tired at the same time each night. Once your body has fully adjusted, you will be able to wake up on time without setting an alarm clock.
5. No alcohol
According to sleep.org, drinking alcohol before bed can negatively impact your sleep in several ways. While alcohol may cause you to fall asleep quickly due to its sedative effect, it disrupts your sleep later throughout the night.
Once the alcohol wears off in the middle of the night, you are more likely to become restless, wake up, or toss and turn. This reduces your overall quality of sleep and time spent sleeping.
Additionally, the deep, restorative stages of sleep, known as REM sleep, is negatively impacted by alcohol. REM sleep is important in boosting memory, learning, and concentration, so if you do not spend enough time in this stage of sleep, you are likely to have a challenging upcoming day.
Having just one or two drinks may let you get the initial deep sleep you are looking for without affecting your entire night, so it is important to remember that moderation is key. Cut yourself off early to make sure that you are able to wake up well-rested the next day.
6. A wonderful dream
Your bed should be reserved for sleeping and dreaming. Don’t read or talk on the phone in bed, as it will not help your body associate your bed with only sleep.
Additionally, if you find that you can’t sleep during the night, get up for 20 minutes or so and do a relaxing activity. You want to only associate your bed with sleep, so if you are not sleeping, get out, do 5 pushups, walk your heartbeats into their normal rate and then come back.
Insomnia can be a very difficult and frustrating issue to combat. Improving your sleep hygiene is an important first step in getting the quality and quantity of sleep that you need.