Getting a good night’s rest and starting your day with energy is about the best thing you can do for yourself, but it’s a tall order. With a few small adjustments to your morning and nightly routines, however, you can feel more awake and active each day.
Note: If you have real sleep issues, a couple of tricks aren’t going to fix them and you should see a sleep specialist. For a little help beforehand, however, check out our guide to common sleep problems.
Getting a good night’s rest can require everything to be just right or your body won’t understand that you want it to sleep for the next eight hours. Let’s take a look at some simple things you can do to send it the right message so you can get the rest you need.
Avoid Direct Light a Few Hours Before Sleep
Light helps keep you awake and aware during the day, but it makes sleep difficult. You don’t have to worry about the sun in the evening, of course, but you will get excessive amounts of light from consumer electronics. If you want to fall asleep more easily, consider banning the use of backlit electronics such as laptops, tablets, smartphones and televisions before bed. If you need to make an exception, do it in a well-lit room and not in the dark. The Los Angeles Times explains the effects:
[S]taring at the screen before bed could leave you lying awake. That’s because direct exposure to such abnormal light sources inhibits the body’s secretion of melatonin, say several sleep experts. […] Light-emitting devices, including mobile phones and yep, the iPad, tell the brain to stay alert. Because users hold those devices so close to their face, staring directly into the light, the effect is amplified compared with, say, a TV across the room or a bedside lamp, said Frisca Yan-Go, director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders centre in Santa Monica.
Just set a time each night when you should to turn off the electronics. If necessary, you can always set a reminder so you don’t forget.
Drink a Glass of Water, Then Eat Breakfast
Fit in Five Minutes of Exercise