Often in this crazy, business-driven world of instant gratification, you’ll hear some very strange things. One of the most notorious phrases would be that ever-so familiar battle cry, “Sleep is for the weak”. Now, I believe in hard work to get the job done, but sacrificing R&R is more detrimental than it is helpful, especially in the long run. Fortunately, despite what some might say, everyone can afford to get an incredible night of sleep—it is totally fre, and, with a little bit of re-adjustment, easy to do.
How to Get the Best Sleep of Your Life
1. Don’t eat right before bed-
Many nutritionists recommend not eating at least 3 hours before bed. Late night snacking causes your blood sugar levels to climb, and then subsequently fall rapidly. Spending energy digesting and processing your food overnight won’t leave you feeling rested and refreshed in the morning. You don’t only pay more for your late night snacks physically (by not using the energy throughout the day), you’re also losing out on beauty rest. Eat your cookies in the am instead!
2. Reach for a book–
Reading instead of watching TV or using the iPad before bed is proven to lead to more restful sleep. Reading in itself is a stimulating activity. For one thing, reading requires a lot of eye movement as you take in every written line. This, along with the necessity of using the brain to interpret, imagine and recall what you read will eventually tire you out, leading to sleep. TV and iPads on the other hand release blue light, which impairs the production of melatonin (a sleep hormone) for at least an hour. You also don’t use as much brain power watching Gossip Girl reruns.
3. Set an alarm-
Too much of any good thing is bad. Well, that also applies to sleep. Getting upwards of 10 hours of sleep might sound like a VERY good thing. However, too much sleep actually slows down your metabolism, causing your energy levels to be lower than usual. This is the same effect as sleeping too little. Set an alarm in the morning so you don’t “overdo it”. *Another tip: place your alarm clock somewhere you can’t reach from bed. Then hopefully you won’t be as tempted to hit the snooze button… repeatedly.
4. Go to bed 30 minutes before bedtime–
Before the clock strikes your preferred hour of rest, get comfortable half an hour early. Take a warm shower, put on your PJs, and start preparing yourself mentally for dreamland. Consider it a form of meditation. It will also save you the agony of having to force yourself to sleep or counting sheep. Who counts sheep anyhow??
5. Don’t consume caffeine–
Consuming caffeine affects your blood sugar levels. Chocolate, coffee and other caffeine-laced food and beverages will definitely keep you awake if consumed too close to bedtime. Cut out the processed and caffeinated foods around 1pm. And if you really need that cup o something, have you tried warmed almond milk with a dash of cinnamon?
6. Be strict with your family’s bedtime-
If you’re single and living la vida loca, then it’s slightly easier to get into a sleep routine than it is if say- you have 3 kids and two dogs. Moms deserve great sleep too! Having your kids in bed by a certain time so you can get a reasonable amount of rest as well is half the battle. The other half is getting yourself in bed afterwards, and not doing three loads of laundry instead…