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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

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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