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In our fast-paced, busy world full of instant gratification, flashing phones, blaring TV’s and social media updates, it can be really hard to unplug after a long day and allow yourself to rest. Not only does sleep deprivation lead to looking and feeling sluggish, but studies show that it can cause depression, make you gain weight, and be a factor in heart disease, strokes and heart attacks! The Best of This Life is a website dedicated to helping our readers live passionately, healthfully and happily—and one of the best ways to build a successful foundation for the storms of life is with a rested mind and body. I know it’s easier said than done, but working towards a better sleep is a starting point. Below are my tips on how to facilitate a nighttime routine to promote healthy sleep every single night:
- Get Clean and Cozy!
Doing simple things like brushing your teeth, taking a hot shower, putting on a fresh pair of pyjamas and settling in with a cozy blanket all help your brain prepare for sleep, says this Health.com article. Habits create stronger neural pathways, which through repetition become easier to accomplish. This concept is widely referenced when it comes to health and fitness, but can also apply to “training our brain” to wind down for sleep.
- Turn the Lights Out and the Devices Off
Another effective routine to incorporate for healthier, more restful sleep is dimming the lights an hour or two before bedtime. Videogames, TV shows and cell phone games all stimulate your brain, taking it further from sleep than ever. Our bodies have circadian rhythms and timetables that decide when sleep-inducing hormones like melatonin are released, but when artificial light and activity from devices continue into the late hours, those natural sleep enhancers are halted. It’s better to turn all the lights out, listen to calming music and read a book for the last hour before sleep.
- Hold the Caffeine, Sugar and Alcohol, Please!
Stimulants like caffeine and sugar have been known to prevent restful sleep, but did you know that alcohol actually disrupts the quality of sleep as well? Yes, alcohol is a depressant—it makes you feel sleepy and may even help you fall asleep—but studies show that in the second half of the night, alcohol actually disrupts your body’s melatonin levels, leading to wakefulness, restlessness and nightmares. Refrain from consuming caffeine, alcohol or sugar for at least four hours before bedtime to facilitate restorative sleep.