How often do you come home from work and just can’t slow your head down? It’s almost like your brain is strapped to stability ball that is being kicked by the most hyped up 12 year old. Then, when it’s time to fall asleep the kid decides to invite his friends over to kick your brain which is still strapped to that big green stability ball.
Most people deal with this on a daily basis and turn to substances and methods that force them to deviate from a healthy lifestyle. For example: drinking alcohol in excess, taking sleep aids, and gorging on sugary foods.
#1 Two hours before bed shut off anything with a screen. This includes TV, Cell phones, Tablets, etc. Dr Guy Meadows, clinical director of The Sleep School, a West London clinic, says: ‘We’re designed to sleep in the dark. When the sun comes up, the light receptors in the retina at the back of the eye tell us it’s time to wake up by inhibiting the release of melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy. The reverse happens at night, so it’s ideal to dim down the lights as bedtime approaches as sleep is vital for the regulation of our mood.” So next time your good friend or loved one is cranky the next morning ask them, “Did you fall asleep with the TV on again?” If you need to leave your cell phone on for an alarm make sure it’s on airplane mode and at least plugged in on the other side of the room.
#2 Create a routine before bed to adjust your body for sleep. This can include meditating, breathing techniques or having a quite study. Your body will eventually recognize the routine which can help in releasing sleep hormones such as melatonin.
Try this breathing exercise to help alleviate anxiety and relax.
Breathe into your belly 4 sec.
Hold your breath 4 sec.
Relax shoulders and slowly exhale.
Repeat as needed.
#3 Read something boring. Yes, it sounds strange but it works. I pulled out my old econ 101 book and it put me to sleep in about 40 seconds. Make sure the TV is off and your cell phone is put away for the night.
#4 Eat a couple of hours before bed. Don’t eat too much and make sure it’s nutrient dense. Also try not to have a lot of fluids. This will prevent frequent bathroom trips that can interrupt sleep. The overall amount of sleep is important but uninterrupted sleep has a much higher value.
#5 Don’t delay bedtime, just go to bed already! It’s Thursday night and the weekend has pretty much started. Or so we think. There are numerous occasions that we fool ourselves in staying up later to fulfill what we enjoy. Ask yourself this, will starting the weekend on Thursday really make me happier? HELL NO! So, next time your favorite show is on until midnight or a couple of friends are heading to the local pub JUST SAY NO!