The Benefits and Rules for a Good-Night Sleep
1. Sleep Environment: Darkness is Your Best Friend.
Make the room as dark as possible. Get rid of unnecessary electronic devices. The blue light from the screens blocks the production of melatonin in your pineal gland, so you lose 2-3 hours of beneficial deep restorative sleep.
But not too close to your bedtime. The ideal time to do 20-30 minutes of moderate physical activity is in the morning or early afternoon. Definitely avoid exercise 2-3 hours before you go to bed, as it increases your energy, spikes your adrenaline, and may decrease your chances of falling asleep.
3. Skip Violent Movies/TV.
I know everyone is raving about “The Game of Thrones”, but try not to watch it 1-2 hours before you go to bed. Watch something happy and positive. A comedy would do. Watching “rapeage and pillage” prevents good digestion and good sleep. It also increases your level of cortisol (stress hormone) and prevents relaxation.
If the word “relaxation” is not something you are familiar with, it is time to learn it, if you want to live happy, long, and, most importantly quality life. I know you will tell me that you have kids to take care of, and you have no time for yourself. Find the time! I never had time for myself, until I had to learn to find it. There are a lot of free and paid apps that could help you learn to relax and meditate. My personal favorite is Omvana (try their free “6-Phase Meditation”), Simply Being, Relax & Rest, Breathe2Relax, Headspace. The heart variability device, such as HeartMath, helps to monitor your progress with relaxation.
5. Do Not Eat before bedtime.
Avoid eating 2-3 hours before going to bed. Take a magnesium supplement 1 hour before going to bed. Include a healthy source of carbs in your dinner (for example, baked sweet potatoes, yams or parsnips, quinoa).
6. Decrease/Avoid Caffeine.
All the hype nowadays is about genetics and methylation. The big news: We are all different. Did you notice that a cup of coffee or a shot of espresso makes you jittery or wired? Or you wake up in the middle of the night or have a hard time falling asleep? Then, maybe you are a slow caffeine metabolizer and should avoid coffee altogether or at least after 10 am (instead of just 6 hours before bed)! No genetic test needed. Thus, saving you money and effort.
7. No Alcohol 2-3 Hours before Bedtime.
So, most of us are familiar with a nice relaxed feeling happening to us when we drink a glass of wine. Alcohol in measure, and wine especially, considered to be healthy for the heart and mood. Nevertheless, have you ever noticed waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back asleep. Instead of relaxation that lasts 2-3 hours, we experience excitement and inability to sleep. Try it as an experiment on Saturday night and see for yourself!