We all know there are things we can do to be productive when we wake up (i.e. coffee), but what about before we go to sleep? These are just a few things you can do to ensure you set yourself up for a good night’s sleep to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. Even if the day is sitting at home and taking a bunch of zoom calls.
Create a peaceful place for sleep
Your bedroom should be used only for sleeping, and a lot of people admit that they browse online in their beds, stay on their phones in bed, and watch TV to fall asleep. Try to stay away from electronics 30 minutes – 1 hour before bed. If you must have your devices on in bed, turn on “nightshift” on your iPhone (and other devices now have similar features), which cancels out blue light. Why is this helpful? Blue light is proven to disrupt our sleep cycles by “convincing” our eyes that it’s still daytime.
Ambient noise can be helpful if you find the right kinds
As mentioned above, the TV is not a good source of this, but white noise or pink noise can promote better sleep. Pink noise is classified as lower intensity and more soothing than white noise. Pink noise can be found in nature – think rustling leaves and light rain, or a cat purring. According to this small study, pink noise has been said to reduce brain wave complexity, so you can wake up ready to work! You can stream pink noise sounds on YouTube.
Don’t drink caffeine past 3 pm
It may seem like a long time before bed, but caffeine stays in your system for 5-6 hours after you drink it. In older adults, it can take even longer to process the caffeine out of the system. If you must have a beverage at night time, try some caffeine-free hot tea.
Lots of companies make pillow sprays now with essential oils and calming scents like lavender, which is proven to help slow activity in the central nervous system and aid in falling asleep faster. A popular one to try is ThisWorks Deep Sleep Pillow Spray – spray in the air around your bed or directly mist onto your pillow. You can also try an essential oils diffuser to keep a steady mist of lavender or sandalwood, both great sleep scents.
Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature
No one likes sleeping in a hot, stuffy room. Optimal sleep temperature is around low-mid 60’s. If you get really hot when you sleep, you can look into cooling systems like the ChiliPad, which is a mattress pad that cools, helping you stay at optimal sleep temperature all night long. They can be pricey, but worth the investment if you have temperature issues.
Create a before-bed routine to help calm your mind
Journal, meditate, read, or try coloring! There are tons of coloring books for adults now, and this practice has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety by calming the activity in the amygdala, which creates a similar state in the brain as meditating. If neither of these options appeals to you, try some simple breathing exercises 30 minutes before bed. There are plenty of apps now that offer guided meditations and exercises for free.
Don’t drink too much water before bed
Avoid liquids at least an hour before you go to bed, and always use the restroom before you actually go to bed. Waking up in the middle of the night to do this can bring on a slow morning!