If you haven't already noticed, yesterday was March 14 a.k.a. when daylight savings began and those living in the United States lost an hour of sleep. Yes, a whole, whopping 60 minutes! A precious hour of snoozing, gone! Luckily, you don't have to worry too much, though, because we’ve rounded up some tips to help make it feel like you never lost those zzzZZz’s in the first place. And you can start trying them tonight!
1. Allot 30 Minutes Before Desired Sleep Time
Best thing to do (that works for me) is to get into bed at least 30 minutes before my desired sleep time. For example, if I want to sleep by 10 p.m., then I get into bed no later than 9:30 p.m. But, that’s not the only rule. No technology in bed with me. A book is fine, actually preferred! Funnily enough, the more historic or dense the content, the faster I fall asleep. It’s as if my body is saying it’d rather hit the snooze button than retain any of that deep, intellectual stuff.
2. Stay Away From Any Electronic Screen
As tip numero uno touched upon, the less screen-time you have on your electronic devices before you get into bed, the better the chance will be for you to get a good night’s rest. It’s scientifically backed that devices such as our phones are designed to keep the brain stimulated. Your phone, for example, probably keeps your mind engaged on some topic from the video or news article you just read. According to this article’s doctor, it’s recommended that you stay away from devices such as your phone for at least 30 minutes before getting into bed.
3. Get Your Caffeine Fix In Before Noon
It’s a real Catch-22 problem. You love coffee, but you also love sleep. According to Sleepeducation.com, caffeine can affect your body almost instantaneously and can live in your system for at least 3 to 5 hours. At least, meaning that’s just caffeine’s “half-life”--the time it takes for your body to eliminate half of the drug. The remaining caffeine, according to scientists, can stay in your body for a longer period.
4. Workout Once Sometime In The Evening
Right off the bat, disclaimer. Workout doesn’t mean a “hard” workout. It just means any type of exercise such as yoga or a night stroll with your puppy or SO. The reason why is to start getting your body tired and ready to hit the hay. Like most things in life, though, it’s best that you don’t overexert yourself. The reason why is similar to the idea behind not keeping your brain too stimulated before bed. The more energized you are, the less likely you’ll be able to fall asleep. For example, it’s probably not a good idea to do a bunch of sprints right before bed. Your heart will be too busy trying to calm down for you to be able to sleep!
5. Stay Away From Big Meals Or Snacks
Whether it’s for better sleep or a slimmer waist, there are many reasons to not eat or snack right before bed. Studies such as this one done by the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) shows how eating later can lead to poorer digestion and uncomfortable symptoms such as heartburn during sleep. Additionally, though the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) did confirm that there is no overwhelming data that suggests eating right before bed leads to weight-gain, it’s a known fact that the more calories in than out lead to weight-gain. And if you turn on the TV after dinner and are anything like me, than you’ll probably get a bowl of popcorn to munch on. That habit, however, might lead to weight-gain, which may or may not be what you want!
As a wrap-up, the overall goal to a good night’s rest is to find that balance of fatigued, yet relaxed. Think 30 minutes after you took a really hard test. You’re tired from all of that mental work, but so over it to think about what content was even on it, right? Or a car ride home in the passenger seat after a long day out. Your body is at rest because you’ve got nowhere to go, but you’re so overworked from being out all day. Hope these tips and tricks help you the next time you try to get a good night’s rest and we all know how important sleep is, so definitely give them a try!