The lights are out and you’re snuggled into your comfy bed. So why are you tossing and turning? Your daily habits could be sabotaging your sleep. Here are five changes that’ll help you get the rest you need, courtesy of CNN:
- First, no caffeine after 2 p.m. Your favorite afternoon drinks – from iced tea to Mountain Dew to flavored water – contain caffeine, which stays in your body for at least five hours. So always read labels, and especially avoid energy drinks that can contain 10 times the caffeine as a can of soda! Plus, they also contain stimulants like guarana, and taurine.
- Next, don’t eat too late and try sleep “super foods” for dinner. Carbohydrates boost the level of tryptophan – the sleep-inducing amino acid - in your blood. You only need a little. Consuming calories raises your body temperature, which can keep you awake. So, try a piece of whole wheat toast or a small baked potato before bed and avoid spices, which also raise your body’s temperature.
- Another sleep-better tip: Don’t drink alcohol right before bedtime. A night-cap might help you relax and fall asleep faster, but once your body finishes processing the alcohol – after about four hours - it’ll wake up your brain and increase your heart rate. This will disrupt your deep, rapid eye movement or “REM” sleep. The fix: Have your wine with dinner around 6 p.m. That way it’ll wear off by the time you crawl into bed.
- Also, don’t take a bath or shower right before bed. Raising your body temperature too close to bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep, because your body temperature needs to drop to induce sleep. So shower at least an hour before you want to turn in.
- Finally, intense workouts within six hours of bed can keep you awake. However, something gentle and restorative – like static or stretching yoga could put your mind at ease, relax your breathing, and reduce muscle tension without increasing your heartbeat to sleep-disturbing levels.