I know what you’re thinking, ANOTHER list on the internet, how is this going to help me get some sleep?
We ask that you just trust us, as we want to help you get your 40 winks. Read on to see the hidden reasons behind why you feel like a zombie in the morning (although probably with a preference for coffee over brains…we hope).
Eating and Drinking
- It’s 1 AM and you just ate an entire can of Pringles?? Well, your stomach is expecting a party – good luck going to sleep!
- Oh, now you want to skip a meal? You can’t fool your belly: no food, no sleep.
- Eating spicy foods is kind of like taking a defibrillator to your stomach. Sure, it could be fun, but before you go to sleep?? Baddd idea.
- Don’t be fooled by fruit – those natural sugars are really just sneaky evil cousins of candy, and although they look nice and healthy on the outside, once they get into your digestive system they start clanking away, constructing buildings, mowing lawns – anything to keep you up at night.
- Too much protein will keep you up. That chicken you just ate? Might as well be a live one.
- Caffeine, at night? Are you crazy! Coffee, tea, and chocolate will keep you wide eyed in bed.
- Dehydration is a thing. What, you want your insides to feel like Dubai in August? Drink water to avoid headaches and a grumpy morning.
- Wait, how much water did you just drink? A gallon?? Your body knows you will have to wake up and pee in an hour. Good luck falling asleep and I hope you wake up!
- Drinking alcohol before going to bed is like making a deal with the devil: sure, you might fall asleep more quickly, but you will pay for that later as you wake up many times throughout the night.
- Brush your teeth before bed, otherwise that pesky bacteria in your mouth might irk you. And you’ll wake up with a cavity too. No, for real.
- You let your pet sleep in your bed? LOL. Did you pack his lunch and clean up his poo as well?
- Not wearing socks is risky – if a cold draft enters your room, your sensitive toes will feel it first. Make sure you’ve got a big blanket. Or a fireplace – but at least a few feet away from your toes.
- Why read an online article on your bright LCD laptop/tablet screen when you can just read an actual, sleep-inducing newspaper?
- WAIT, I just need to check Facebook. Someone just Retweeted me! What was that Pinterest recipe again? Where can I buy that mason jar? I cannot believe she just posted that on Instagram, or was it Reddit?.…Social media NEVER SLEEPS!
- Watching TV in bed will literally keep you up late at night; who knew that Carson Daly had his own show?!
- Watching a scary movie when its already dark outside. That certainly can’t help your sleeping efforts!
- That blinking. It keeps blinking. Who is texting me now? I HAVE to check. Smart phones never sleep – don’t put them by your bedside. OR, turn off your phone and buy an actualy alarm clock!
- Are you afraid of the dark? Well, it’s a real thing. A pitch black room can be too much of a good thing.
- Stressful day? That means one thing: It’s going to be a stressful night.
- Problem solving in bed: you had to wait until you got into bed to figure out your problems? Why couldn’t you do this earlier when you were waiting on line for your Mocha Grande Pumpkin Spice Peppermint Cappuccino?
- Restless leg syndrome – on the bright side, your pet will say “what’s that shaking noise? I’m going back to the rug.”
- Watching the clock is an all-night activity: it literally never stops.
- Going over your schedule for the next day. PLEASE do this BEFORE you get into bed. Thank you.
- Too much clutter in the room can be both distracting and mentally stressful. Clean it up!
- Exercising late at night is a good idea because….oh wait, it’s an awful idea.
- Sleeping late in the morning is the price you pay when you try to fall asleep on time that same night. Serves you right!
- Taking a nap during the day? How are you going to get to sleep at night??
- Not getting sunlight during the day will irk your body. Don’t be bashful, get some sun.
- Jetlag is just one of those things.
- Working or doing chores and then trying to fall asleep immediately after is akin to taking a Golden Retriever to a dog park, letting him run amok for 2 hours, then bringing home and pointing at him while shouting “sleep!”, and then expecting him to fall asleep immediately.
- Hormones/menstruation cycle: sorry ladies, we can’t get in the way of nature.
- Smoking a cigarette might be cool according to Joe Camel, but that nicotine can disrupt your sleep.
- Too much light coming into the room? Buy some new curtains!
- Is your pillow weak? Too hard? This isn’t an airplane – go buy a new and soft one.
- Sleeping on a stiff mattress is bad for your back, your brain, and your stress levels.
- Sheets matter, depending on the temperature of the outside, your room, and your body.
- Full moon. Yup. It’s true – full moons can keep people up at night and your dog might even howl.
- Temperature – below 54 or above 75 degrees Fahrenheit is no good.
- Sleeping alone, when used to having a spouse, can be tricky. Skype date?
- Speaking of spouses, is he/she snoring again? Yank their arm.
- Those pesky neighbors moving couches again at 2 am? WHY do they always wait ‘til 2 am to move those couches??! WHYYY???
- Are the neighbors quiet now? Is your room extremely quiet? Can you hear a pin drop? Sometimes a room can be too quiet – a constant humming sound could be soothing. Turn on a fan.
- That bright LCD clock that can light up Times Square? Hmmm…
- Dust mites are mostly harmless except for allergies they can cause. Good news though, if you can sleep through a sneeze, you’ll be alright!
Well, that’s it! We’re sure that if you follow these tips you’ll be heading for a good night’s sleep in no time!
Get Moving for a Good Night
Many Americans do not get enough sleep. Eight hours per night is the recommended amount but for some people this seems like an impossibility. The blame for lack of sleep is often put on our busy schedules, jobs, kids, work, etc. These things can’t really be eliminated from our lives but there are ways to make sure that we get a better night’s rest. Taking a daily walk around the neighborhood is one of these things that can help you sleep better and more restful.
There are a few different things that people can do to help them get a good night’s rest. Eating the right types of foods can contribute to the quality of our sleep. Not eating spicy or acidic foods before bedtime can help. Mediation and drinking herbal teas (free of caffeine, of course) is also beneficial to some people. Another good way to help you rest better at night is to get plenty of exercise during the day.
Just because you work a nine hour job and have a family to look after doesn’t mean you are getting the proper amount of exercise. Being busy is no replacement for a good workout that will get your heart rate going and your blood flowing. Walking a mile or two or even a few blocks every day is a good way to get this daily exercise. Taking a walk after dinner every night will not only help your body burn off calories but it will contribute to keeping you body functioning at its optimal level. It will also help you sleep better, provided you don’t do it too close to your bedtime.
How does exercise relax you so that you sleep better? The answer is: exercise gives melatonin a boost. Melatonin is a naturally produced hormone that help regulate your sleeping cycles. Exercise makes melatonin do its job better so that you can sleep better. Better sleep has many benefits and it helps fight depression and disease.
What NOT to Eat Before Bed
It is generally not recommended to eat before bedtime. If you suffer from heartburn or indigestion, for example, there is a good chance your stomach isn’t going to allow you drift off to a peaceful slumber mere minutes after your head hits the pillow. Sometimes, due to our busy schedules eating before bedtime is unavoidable. However, there are some things you can do that will make falling asleep easier and that will help you get a full night’s rest so that you’re not dragging and groggy the next morning.
It should go without saying that it is not a good idea to consume caffeine before bedtime. Coffee, tea and cola should be avoided and so should chocolate. If your time schedule doesn’t allow for much flexibility in the times when you eat your meals, there are some foods that you can eat that won’t keep you up tossing and turning. Fruit is a good food to eat if you must eat within an hour of your bedtime, but just make sure it’s nothing to acidic, especially if you suffer from heartburn. A banana or an apple or even grapes are a safe bet. Bland food is safer than spicy food. Bread and butter or a high carb snack like crackers can trigger the release of serotonin in the body which can help with sleep. Foods that are difficult to digest like corn and nuts should be avoided.
Healthy Foods to Eat Before Bed
In a broader sense eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is going to ensure that you have energy throughout the day. By being energized and active all day and burning off calories, your body should be more than ready to recharge over night. People who maintain healthy diets and get plenty of exercise generally sleep better.
Also, make sure you eat slowly and chew properly. This will help your body digest meals better so digestion won’t interfere with your sleep!
What constitutes a good night’s sleep? The generally held consensus on the appropriate amount is 8 hours per night for adults. The average American gets less than seven hours per night and that’s not enough for them to function at their best. A lack of sleep can have a variety of negative impacts on our lives from an increase in disease susceptibility to an unhealthy gain in weight.
Making a Good Night’s Sleep Great
When we are overly tired, we also have slower reaction times which can have consequences when we are driving. Lack of sleep can result in a rise in blood pressure and can trigger hormonal imbalances that increase our appetites while making us tired during the day and less likely to exercise. This can lead to obesity and diabetes. Many obese Americans suffer from sleep apnea where normal breathing can become interrupted as many as 400 times per night.
When we are able to sleep well the benefits are immediate. Our memory improves, losing weight is easier and so is fighting depression. To ensure you get a good night’s sleep, make sure your bed is comfortable and your mind is clear at bedtime. Drink caffeine-free herbal tea and avoid checking your electronic devices which can throw off your body’s natural clock.
More Screen Time = Less Sleep Time
It would probably be no surprise to anyone that we spend about half of our waking hours staring at a screen. Whether that’s a desktop or laptop computer screen, a cell phone or a tablet, we are completely engaged with our electronic devices for much of our waking hours. It is now believed that this much exposure to the artificial lighting of these screens can adversely affect our sleeping patterns.
As the use of these types of technologies increases, so does the amount of sleep disorders we experience. With so many of us watching TV in bed on our smartphones and checking messages or using our tablets right before bed, we are disrupting our body’s normal and natural sleep routine.
Good Night Tech, Good Night Moon
The lighting used to illuminate these devices may be tricking our bodies into thinking it’s daylight. The natural production of melatonin is affected by the amount of light outside. When the sun goes down our bodies start telling us that it is time to go to sleep. The use of gadgets with artificial lighting sources may be interfering with this natural process which makes it harder for us to fall asleep at night.
As great as technology is and with as many great benefits as the Internet delivers to us on a daily basis, there’s always a tradeoff. In this case, it may mean that checking your e-mail in bed will have you feeling groggy in the morning.
One solution is to rid your bedroom of tech devices, creating a sanctuary for sleep and signaling to your brain and body that your bed is a place meant for resting and sleeping, not tweeting and Instagraming.