4 Things to Avoid Before Bed for a Better SleepArticle posted in: Lifestyle
Exhaustion seems to be a deciding factor of adulthood. It’s as if it is a qualifier at this stage in life: You must yawn “x” amount of times each day to be taken seriously. Obviously, with good eating and exercise, we can combat that fatigue. However, something else we can do is actively try to improve our sleep! Everyone does it and everyone needs it and yet it is so overlooked.
Sleep is very important for our mental and emotional health. It also greatly affects physical health. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, sleep is vital in the “healing and repair” of the heart and blood vessels. Sleep can also help you to maintain a healthy body weight, as it balances the hormones that make you feel hungry or full.
To ensure you are taking care of your whole self, you need to take steps toward a truly healthy good night’s sleep. In order to do that, we put together this list of four habits you should avoid before you hit the hay.
Here are four things to avoid before bed for a better sleep:
1. Stop Starting at Screens
According to the National Sleep Foundation, using electronic screens before bed “delays” your circadian rhythm, also known as your body’s internal clock. The blue light from these devices suppresses your body’s release of melatonin, which makes it harder for you to fall asleep. Using these devices before bed also “delays the onset of REM sleep,” which takes away from the value of the sleep that you do manage to get! In other words, UNPLUG before bedtime! Read a book, sit outside and people watch, journal, doodle, anything! Just keep that phone out of your hand and the TV off!
2. Cap Your Caffeine
This one is probably a no-brainer. What do we do when we can’t stop yawning during the day? We reach for caffeine because it is a stimulant. In general, you should cut off your caffeine intake by the late afternoon. You should also be mindful of the amount that you consume each day. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “Three 8 oz. cups of coffee (250 milligrams of caffeine) per day is considered a moderate amount of caffeine.” Just be sure to stop before your workday ends! Too much caffeine can alter sleep habits, cause anxiety or nervousness, a rapid heart rate and a temporary spike in blood pressure, says Healthline.
This doesn’t mean that you have to completely cut that cup of joe out of your life. Click the link below to learn more about coffee on your South Beach Diet meal plan:
3. Move Your Movement
Exercising increases your heart rate and body temperature, while also stimulating your nervous system. “An all-out workout is about as far from a calming bedtime routine as it gets,” says the National Sleep Foundation. For these reasons, working out intensely before bed can lead to disrupted sleep or a harder time falling asleep. Imagine trying to doze off after a catching something like a runner’s high! It’s hard for your body to calm down.
“Traditionally, experts have recommended not exercising at night as part of good sleep hygiene,” says Harvard Health Publishing. “Now a new study, published Oct. 29, 2018, in Sports Medicine, suggests that you can exercise in the evening as long as you avoid vigorous activity for at least one hour before bedtime.”
If the evening is the only time you can squeeze in a workout, just try not to do anything too intense. Try some relaxing yoga, Pilates or a low-impact strength training routine paired with stretching. Read more about why we’re obsessed with yoga, then check out these five yoga moves for a fitter you! >
4. Forego Faulty Foods
Eating before bed can be a confusing topic. However, it really comes down to what you are eating. According to Healthline, you should avoid eating typical dessert and junk food. Why? These temptations are abundant in unhealthy fats and added sugars. This can cause cravings and lead to overindulging in more unhealthy foods. Avoid that late night drive thru run and just go to bed!
In addition to the obvious unhealthy foods, there are some other ingredients that can wreak havoc on your slumber. Read up on the five foods you should never eat before bed! >
While exhaustion is certainly something that often feels just a part of life, try to remember to give yourself that tech break before bed. Turn down that ice cream for some frozen berries. Wake up and workout early in the morning rather than after work. And please, don’t order that four p.m. cup of coffee to help you make it through the last hour of the work day! Do yourself a favor and try to get better sleep.
Now that you know what to avoid before bed, click the link below for seven to-dos for your best night of sleep ever!