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7 Tips for Better Sleep in 2019
As 2018 winds down and we head into the New Year, here are 7 tips for better sleep! A few small changes to your bedtime routine may be all you need.
1. Don’t eat or drink too late.
Bedtime snacking can lead to disrupted sleep, so it’s best not to eat or drink too late. Avoid stimulants like caffeine and nicotine within 6 hours of bedtime, and be wary of too many nightcaps – alcohol suppresses deep sleep and reduces time spent in REM.
2. Exercise 20-30 minutes a day.
Regular exercise is known to have a positive impact on sleep. In fact, research shows that time spent exercising decreases sleep complaints and reported insomnia. Additionally, by exercising more, you may increase the amount of time you spend in deep sleep. However, be careful of exercising too late at night; cardiovascular exercise can be too stimulating if you work out within 2 hours of bedtime, and it can cause more frequent arousals or sleep disruptions.
3. Create a similar bedtime and wake-up time.
Many of us tend to stay up later or sleep in more on the weekends, but this habit can actually be disruptive rather than restorative. Going to sleep and waking up around the same time each day helps you maintain your circadian rhythm, which acts as a sleep clock that tells you when to wake up and when to sleep. People who go to bed and wake up around the same time each day report less insomnia and less morning sleepiness.
4. Keep your bedroom around 18 degrees Celsius.
Sleeping in a room that’s too warm or too cold will disrupt your rest. Your core body temperature peaks during mid-afternoon and dips towards the end of the day, as your body prepares for sleep. The change in temperature kickstarts melatonin production, the hormone responsible for regulating your sleep. A small drop in room temperature reinforces this process by signalling to your body that it’s time for bed.
5. Turn out the lights 30 minutes before bed.
Blue light in particular (the kind of light given off by cell phones, TV, and tablets) reduces the amount of melatonin produced by our bodies. Without this hormone telling us it’s time for sleep, our bodies stay awake and alert, making falling asleep really difficult. Instead of scrolling on your phone or watching television in bed, try reading or meditating.
6. Create a mind-dump.
What is a mind dump? It’s a simple way to clear your mind and get everything out of your head, so that you can relax. If you find your mind starts racing with lists of to-dos while you’re laying in bed, you may find that taking pen to paper helps reset the loop. It can be a bullet list of things you want to be sure to remember in the early morning, or it can be a prose summary of the day. The form isn’t important, as long as it helps you relax by taking the pressure off of “remembering”.
7. Create a gratefulness list.
A gratefulness or gratitude list is a wonderful, positive way to end the day. Instead of focusing on anything that went wrong, or something you’re worried about for tomorrow, focus your mind on your blessings. Write down a few things that you’re thankful for and fall asleep with a smile!