If you’ve ever had trouble sleeping, it’s probably because you’re doing it all wrong.
While you can’t fall asleep on demand, you can control every move leading up to the point when you shut your eyes.
“It’s good to start a wind-down routine around the same time every day,” says Nitun Verma, MD, a California-based physician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep. “You can’t force yourself to sleep but you can control the hour or so before you go to bed, so that’s what you should focus on.” Follow Verma’s itinerary to get the best possible night’s sleep:
Last call for coffee! Caffeine is the enemy of sleep. Make your last run for tea or coffee by mid-afternoon to reduce the risk of sleeplessness.
2 Hours Before Bedtime
Hang out in a chill place besides your bedroom. “The only two things people should do in bed is have sex and sleep,” Verma says. That means watching TV or online shopping from bed, and even reading is a no-no once you’re tucked in to bed.
Turn the TV and music volume down. It will decrease noise stimulation that can wind you up.
Switch from overhead lights to lamplight. Light is the most important factor in managing your sleep schedule, Verma says. Use low-wattage yellow light bulbs instead of high-wattage white lights.
Reduce the brightness on your iPhone, iPad, TV, or computer screen. Screens emanate white light with blue light waves that keep you awake by sending signals through receptors in the eye to parts of the brain that regulate the sleep-wake cycle. This revs your brain up into a state of alertness at a time when you should be winding down.
Take your last bites of any spicy or sugary foods. Spicy foods can trigger heartburn and digestive issues that could trigger sleep problems, while sugary foods can deliver a boost of energy that you definitely don’t need at bedtime. (So much for dessert :/) “Food just isn’t very useful within two hours of bedtime,” Verma says.
1 Hour Before Bedtime
Power down your devices. Most people don’t think screen light from a phone or iPad is that big of a deal, but it’s actually a pretty big issue: And because you hold devices so close to your eyes, all the brightness gets in, Verma explains.
Stop checking social media or answering emails. Because thinking about tomorrow’s to-do list isn’t going to help you sleep.
Lower the thermostat. The body temperature drops a little before bedtime because your circadian rhythm controls body temperature. When you control the temperature of your environment, your body takes that as a signal that you should go to sleep. You want to create a cool, dark environment that’s kind of like a cave, says Verma, who likes his thermostat to be set between 66 and 68 degrees at bedtime.
You can also crack a window in your bedroom or the room where you’re relaxing — but only if it’s cool and quiet outside, in which case fresh air can only help you sleep better.
Taper off of liquids. If you’re super thirsty, by all means, drink up. But the hour before bedtime isn’t the best time to make up for a dry day or even make a cup of tea. Otherwise, a full bladder can wake you up for bathroom runs.
Read, listen to music, talk. Do anything that relaxes you so long as it doesn’t involve a screen — even tidying up clutter can help. A good rule of thumb: if it’s aggravating (like cleaning up your roommate’s mess), it will be activating.
30 Minutes Before Bedtime
Bathe. When you go to sleep, your body temperature naturally drops a bit. And when you get out of a warm bath or shower, water evaporates off your body to create a similar cooling effect. Don’t feel like you need to wash your hair — sleeping on wet hair makes some people uncomfortable, Verma says.
When You Actually Feel Sleepy
Turn a fan on in your bedroom. Fans create dead noise that drown out disturbing sounds that can turn deep sleep into light sleep without even waking you up.
Get into bed. If you get into bed before you’re actually tired and try to fall asleep, it’s going to backfire in the form of sleeplessness, Verma says.
Remove your heaviest blanket — but only if it usually ends up on the floor or tangled elsewhere in the morning. This is a telltale sign that you get overheated during the night, and that can wake you up and impact your quality of sleep.
Lie in your favorite position. Whether you sleep on your side, back, or stomach, now’s the time to assume that position.
When You Finish Homework Super Late on a School Night and This Schedule Is, Like, LOLZ
Relax for 10 minutes in a dim place besides your bedroom… “Ten minute of relaxation will be more helpful than going straight to bed,” Verma says. “Otherwise, you’ll get to bed 10 minutes earlier but you won’t have as deep of a sleep.”
…Or power down devices and get right into bed. If you can’t sleep after 20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing like read — real paper, not off a device — until you feel sleepy.
From : Cosmopolitan