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Choosing Better Daily Habits
See part 1 here before you read this section.
There are choices you make each and every day that can either improve your sleep, or destroy it. If you suffer from insomnia, try adding some of the following healthy habits to your day. Getting a good night’s sleep helps the day go better so think about what you do today that will help you rest better tonight.
Free Your Mind
Sometimes it can be hard to put down the feelings and thoughts of the day, but to get better sleep, it’s absolutely essential. In order to rest well, clear your mind of any replay of your day’s work decisions, avoid thinking about upsetting talk, work conflicts or conversations, and spend some time relaxing. Use paper to jot down your thoughts. No judgment. Just write it down. Get it off your mind and on paper.
Once you’ve shaken off some of those time consuming or negative experiences, you can take time to record your thoughts in a more objective way in a journal of sorts. Organize your thoughts in a different place than the space where you did your brain dump to make more sense of what you are thinking. When it’s approaching bed time, you can do breathing exercises, read or listen to some kind of relaxing books and music, or take a calming bath. Light some candles, lower the lights.
Skip That Last Cigarette
A lot of people tend to forget that like caffeine, nicotine is a powerful stimulant. That means that smoking a late night cigarette near bedtime can make you more alert than you would want to be, and that could make sleep much more difficult than it would be if you avoided smoking during late hours.
Caffeine Can Be Hidden in Foods
Lots of food and drinks brands will use substances like caffeine to give them a competitive differentiation between themselves and other brands. Reading the label pays off for more than just when you are creating meals. It is always a good idea to read the labels and make sure that you don’t have something around that you might take and accidentally dose yourself with sleep-disrupting caffeine. You might even be surprised to find that some painkillers might also have caffeine, so be aware.
Eat for Sleep
When you are asleep, that is the time that your body needs to repair and replenish your cells. If you eat a bunch of food right before your body falls asleep, it might be really hard for your body to keep up with this demanding mix of activities. This leads to less restful sleep, and a tired body.
You will want to eat much lighter foods in smaller quantity like those discussed in Part 1. Try to avoid eating at least a couple of hours before you sleep, and avoid over eating in the evening.
Drinking Alcohol Before Bed
A lot of people associate drinking with being asleep, but drinking alcohol really can be a major setback if you’re trying to focus on getting a better restful night. While alcohol is a depressant, the sugars that it contains can wake you up and make you feel like you’re ready to run a marathon or binge watch an entire season of a new tv show.
If you plan on drinking, try to stop consuming alcohol at least 2-3 hours before the time you have planned to be going to bed. That way your body will have more time to metabolize the sugars that are extracted or created by your body through the night.
Exercise Can Help
If you exercise on a daily or at least weekly basis, better sleep is probably more easily attainable. People who work physical labor jobs tend to sleep the hardest and get to sleep the fastest among people in other professions. It should be noted though, that this is only true if the exercise isn’t done late in the day. Exercise should really only take place 2 – 3 hours before you are planning to go to bed. Some people get energized with exercise, so you may need to pay attention how it affects you. That is why so many people prefer to exercise early in the day to start their day off with the energy they need to do well.
Get on a Schedule
While this is not the most care-free sounding habit, the human body requires a measure of predictability in order to stay healthy. People who sleep random schedules will often suffer from the ill effects that come from being unable to attain restful and complete sleep.
This idea should be followed in a lot of areas of life, because when you eat, when you rest, and when you wake up all set you up for the day. When you wake up, grab a quick snack and get into direct light so that you can signal your body that your day has begun. This should ring true even during holidays and days off, and even weekends.
Let me know your thoughts on part 2. Part 3 coming soon.