As the new year swings into gear, it can be difficult to find time to slow down, relax and rest. Sleep can be elusive during busier months. As you ready yourself for a good night’s sleep, you might find yourself remembering, in a moment of panic, everything you need to do the next day: Take Becky to her doctor’s appointment…don’t forget that proposal – it’s due tomorrow…bake a cake for Regina’s birthday. Even after you’ve recited each task aloud and committed them to memory, the thought of the busyness ahead prevails. This makes it more difficult to get the much needed shut-eye you require to complete said tasks. Sleep doesn’t have to be an elusive luxury. Here are the best ways to sleep blissfully.
Record Tasks in a Notebook or Calendar Before Sleeping
Rather than gathering your thoughts while trying to fall asleep, spend ten minutes an hour before bed writing down the biggest tasks you need to take on tomorrow, this week, this month (whatever it takes to put your mind at ease). If you tend to remember tasks as you drift to sleep, keep a notebook by your bed. This way, fear of forgetting an important task, birthday or obligation won’t keep you up at night.
Dim the Lights on Your Smartphone Before Bed
Bright lights, particularly the blue light emitted by computers and smartphones, can keep you awake long after you’ve turned devices off. Technology has confused our bodies and brains making is harder to know when to wake up and when to sleep. Our sleeping and waking cycles are no longer governed by the rising and setting of the sun each day. Our minds respond to light from our rooms, computers and smartphones. If you can’t resist checking your smartphone before sleeping, remember to at least dim your phone. Better yet, use an app like f.lux. It adjusts the light on your computer throughout the day to mimic the natural decrease in light throughout the day.
Stress can keep you up at night. There are a number of ways to help kick stress to the curb and enjoy sleep. Exercising daily, even if it’s just for twenty minutes, can help reduce stress. Before bed, consider a light yoga session to help relax tight muscles and calm your mind.
Eat for Blissful Sleep
Sugary, fatty, salty foods can wreak havoc on your system. Treats, of course, are welcomed, but your core diet should encourage your digestive system to work properly, bolster immunity and foster a healthy you. A healthy diet also contributes to a good night’s sleep. The food you eat affects serotonin levels, which, along with B12, B6 and folic acid helps encourage blissful sleep. Avoid sugars before bed (this includes simple carbohydrates like white bread and pastries) as they tend to reduce serotonin levels. Instead, nosh on the following foods:
- Heart-healthy fats can help boost serotonin levels. If you don’t have nut allergies, have a handful of almonds, walnuts, cashews or other healthy nuts if you need a snack before bed.
- Complex carbohydrates like brown rice, whole-grain rice bread and healthy crackers also help promote sleep.
- Beverages, too, like herbal tea, warm milk and tart cherry juice (which contains melatonin) are your best choices for a healthier ‘night cap.’
If you enjoyed this post, you’d like our article, “How Exercise Helps You Defeat Stress and Makes You Happier.”