Hello everybody! Welcome back to my blog. The purpose of this blog is to help people find their way to a healthier lifestyle. I mostly talk about exercise and its science, which is my area of expertise, but I also talk about nutrition, sleeping habits and many other subjects related to wellbeing and healthy lifestyle.
A few weeks ago I shared a post about how to prepare your bedroom for a good night sleep. Check it out if you missed it!
Today I would like to give you some tips to improve your sleep hygiene, and how to make yourself ready for a restful night!
- Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks after lunchtime.
Caffeine in blood peaks about one hour after consumed. Six hours after having the caffeinated drink, half of it remains in the organism, and it takes up to 10 hours to completely eliminate caffeine from the bloodstream. The recommendation to stop consuming coffee or caffeinated drinks to make sure it doesn’t interfere in our sleep quality is no coffee after lunch. If you have lunch at 12 and you have a coffee right after lunch, your body will eliminate completely the caffeine by 10 PM, which is a good time to go to sleep. There are some people who say that coffee doesn’t affect them, however, no matter how resistant you are to the effects of caffeine while you are awake, it still affects the quality of your sleep.
- Do exercise regularly but avoid vigorous exercise 2 hours before going to sleep.
Around 80% of people that do exercise regularly report a good or fairly good quality of sleep. Although it is unknown what the exact mechanism that connects exercising with better sleep quality, it has been proven by many studies that people who exercise regularly enhance sleep. It can be because of the actions of certain hormones that are released during exercise and it may be due to the psychological factor. Individuals who exercise often enjoy a clearer mind and handle the feelings better than sedentary people. This improvement of mood and mind clearness might be the answer for some cases of insomnia in which the sufferer can’t stop ruminating.
Even though exercising is important to have a good sleep hygiene, the timing is very important. Avoid vigorous exercise one to two hours before going to sleep. This type of physical activity releases endorphins, keeping you awake, as well as increasing your body temperature. This elevation of temperature is like telling your brain that is time to wake up. On the other hand, some gentle exercises like stretches may be helpful prior to sleep to relax your body, decrease your heart rate, and enhance sleep.
- Turn off your devices.
We live in the era of phone addiction. We have the constant necessity of staying connected and we are afraid of missing out on something. In future posts, I will share more information about this addiction and the effect that the blue light from our devices has on us.
Blue light is present in the sun, and it’s linked to the circadian rhythms. It’s necessary to get blue light during the day, especially when it comes from the sun to tell our body that it’s daytime and we have to be awake. Nevertheless, the effect of blue light is the same at night time. This type of light reduces the production of the hormone in charge of the sleep cycle: melatonin.
Another hormone that suffers changes using the phone is dopamine. When we receive a notification from someone we love, or we have hundreds of likes in our latest Insta picture, our brain secretes this hormone, keeping us awake. Dopamine is a great hormone to increase during the day, but it can make us struggle to fall asleep.
Many people suffer from not sleeping well and it can be caused by this excessive use of their phones. Avoid taking your devices to bed. Experts say that the phone should be avoided two to three hours before going to sleep. It seems quite a challenge nowadays, but trying to stay away from your phone at least one hour before going to sleep might make a big difference.
In the following post I shared 6 tips to stay away from your phone before going to sleep, check it out!
- Eat healthy and not right before bed.
There are different components that work together to regulate the sleep cycle and ensure a better sleep. Some of these components are hormones, enzymes, chemicals, amino acids, or nutrients. The hormone melatonin is in charge of controlling the sleep-awake cycle. It peaks during the night by the pineal gland and helps us fall asleep. Many foods naturally have melatonin, such as milk, grains, nuts and seeds, and in many vegetables and fruits.
There are other elements that may help enhance sleep. The amino acid tryptophan supports the production of the previously mentioned melatonin, and it can be found in the same types of foods. Another way to increase the levels of melatonin in the body is by eating food rich on vitamin B6, like some nuts, oats, chicken, poultry or certain types of fish. Eating healthy leads to a better sleep as well as the other way around. Those who have better sleep quality suffer less from cravings and have more energy throughout the day, preventing them from eating extra food to be able to keep up with the day.
The timing of dinner is also a really important factor on a good nights rest. Eating food 2-3 hours before going to sleep will mean the body is attempting to digest the food and has not prepared the body for rest. As a result your body temperature may also be higher than optimal.
- My personal advice.
Listen to what your body and mind tell you. This may sound mystic, but not everything works the same way for everyone. These tips have been scientifically proved, and they have changed many people’s lives by boosting their sleep quality. Nonetheless, there might be things that improve your sleep hygiene. For example, experts say that we shouldn’t read in bed because we might associate our bed with an activity that is not sleeping. Reading before bed is a great way to increase the levels of melatonin, and I personally love reading a book before going to sleep. Having a warm bath or shower is also a common habit of mine as the hot water forces the body to cool itself, lowering your body temperature to prepare it for sleep. Other studies have shown that meditation before going to sleep may improve the sleep quality, yet I find it very difficult because I start thinking of all the things I need to get done the day after. I personally prefer to do a morning meditation to visualise my day.
Something else that has helped me improve my sleeping habits is setting an alarm at night. When that alarm goes off, I know it’s time to turn off Netflix and start my night routine.
That’s it for today! I really hope that you enjoy these tips and recommendations to get ready for bedtime. If you like what I do and you want to support this project, follow me on Instagram and Facebook, like the post and comment! Thank you!