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Tonight Before You Go To Sleep, Make Sure You’ve Done These 10 Things

Tonight Before You Go To Sleep, Make Sure You’ve Done These 10 Things

Fall is my favorite season but it is no good for my sleep schedule. The early darkness and late-coming first-glimpse-of-the-sun have a way of throwing off my natural body clock. Know the feeling? We could all use a good lesson in how to sleep better. Just remember the following 10 things for quality Zzz’s that will help you wake up refreshed and ready to dominate your day.

1. Discover your natural sleeping rhythm.

Find a few days in a row where you don’t have to be awake by any particular time and forget about setting your alarm. Go to bed at the same time every night and let your body awake when it chooses to do so. Write down when you wake and write down how you feel. Repeat this exercise until you discover your ideal sleep schedule.

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2. Keep a consistent bed-time ritual.

I know this isn’t easy if you have kids, so your ritual can be as simple or as elaborate as it needs to be. Plenty of time to spare? Unwind with a bubble bath, good book, hot tea, and incense or candles. Only have a little while? Dim the lights in your home an hour before bed. After you tuck the kids in, perform a super quick consistent ritual before getting under the covers. For example: you could brush and floss your teeth, lay out your clothes for the next day, and write down the most important things you have to do tomorrow. Train your brain with a patient attitude to wire your body to sleep with ease.

3. Catch some rays during the day.

Melatonin is the hormone in your body that regulates your sleep cycle. Have you ever noticed your energy in the morning tends to increase when you take your first step into the sun-light? That’s because melatonin production is influenced by exposure to light. Make sure you catch some rays during the day because chaining yourself to your desk (and denying your body access to natural light) will make you feel groggy long before your day is over.

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4. Watch out for artificial light late at night.

The more melatonin your body produces, the sleepier you will be. Light decreases its production and darkness increases it. Unfortunately, the artificial light found on lap-tops, computer monitors, TV screens, cell-phones and so on are not excluded from this equation. Limit your exposure to all electronics within one hour of your bed-time. Dive into a book for a more sleep-friendly alternative.

5. Turn down your thermostat.

The average person sleeps best at a temperature of 65 degrees. Is it a little warm? Sleep in your skivvies and ditch the cover. A little cool? Bundle up in something comfy and warm. Adjust your attire to the temperature for a good night’s sleep.

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6. Cut the lights and eliminate the noise.

Just like distractions can wreck your productivity in the middle of a task or chore, they can also mess up the quality of your sleep. If you live in a noisy apartment or neighborhood, buy some comfortable noise reduction ear muffs or try going to bed with something relaxing like nature sounds, beach noises, or classical music playing. If there is a bright light sneaking into your window, invest in an eye mask.

7. Move your body.

How to sleep better in one word: exercise! Save vigorous workouts like weight-lifting, sprints, and physically taxing sports for early in the day because they can energize your body late at night (causing the opposite of the desired effect). Gentle yoga with conscious breathing, however, would be a perfect late-night routine to prepare your body for a perfect night of sleep.

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8. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

It should come as no surprise that caffeine isn’t the best beverage to drink late in the day, but did you know it can cause sleep problems 10-12 hours after consumption? If you have a hard time sleeping, you’d be wise to cut yourself off by noon. Also, while alcohol might give you a vicious case of the sleepies, the benefit doesn’t last. Alcohol damages the quality of your sleep, causing you to wake frustrated and groggy before you’re anywhere close to ready to start the day.

9. Have dinner at least a couple hours before bed.

Rich foods that are full of fat take a long time to digest in your body, which could make it hard for you to fall asleep. Also, I’m sure you have a beverage or two with that dinner, and drinking too close to bed could cause you to wake up with an overwhelming urge to pee.

10. Set a bed-time alarm.

Not a wake-up alarm: a bed-time alarm! If you’re a Facebook or Pinterest user, you know it’s easy to lose track of time. Settle on a time close to lights-out (I’d suggest about an hour before) and stay on schedule. Make sure you give yourself enough time to shut off your electronics, put your kids to bed (if applicable), perform your bed-time ritual, and do anything else you need to do.

I hope this will help you figure out how to sleep better so you can feel more energized and refreshed during the day. Do you have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep? If so, why do you think that could be?

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Daniel Wallen

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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