A barely functioning body consists of dragging-the-feet movement, heavy eyelids, grumbling speech, and a slow-to-respond mind. Early in the morning, this body is the result of sleep deprivation. Sleep is on equal footing to exercise and healthy eating. Specifically, the mind requires sleep to re-energize lost brainpower consumed during the day. A fresh mind is alert and responsive to daily tasks and conversations. However, work, family, illness, emergencies, and unexpected obstacles throw sleep time off balance, resulting in lost sleep and beginning stages of insomnia. Regardless, sleeping is essential for a productive mind. Prepare your mind for bed with these five sleeping tips.
Create a Sleep Atmosphere
What are the necessities for a good night’s sleep? A bedroom with a comfortable bed, dark environment, a cold temperature, and silence is the premier atmosphere to gain the most sleep. To recreate the atmosphere, turn off all lights in the bedroom. Fluff pillows and pull back the comforter. Use a fan to create a cold temperature (unless it’s fall/winter). Turn off the TV, computer, and music device. Turn down alarms, silence cell phones, and stop staring at the clock. If the neighborhood is noisy, use earplugs. If the room is bright, use dark window shades and sleep masks. Get pets and children a separate space; both are distracting to sleep.
Since the bedroom is for sleeping, draw the boundaries. Don’t go to the bedroom for television viewing, computer/internet surfing, and office working.
The circadian rhythm, or the sleep-wake cycle, trains your mind to fall asleep and wake up at certain times. This creates an internal clock in your mind to fall asleep naturally and wake up naturally. Naturally waking up stops the dependence on sleep alarms and reduces tossing and turning mid-night. Simply decide the time you expect to sleep and follow that routine vigorously. Continue the sleeping pattern on weekends. In addition, do not sleep during the daytime. Surrendering to day napping and full-stomach drowsiness means less sleep at night. You’ll struggle to sleep, and once successful, return to sleep once awake.
Include pre-sleep routines into the sleep-wake cycle such as oral health, taking a bath, and taking sleeping pills. Avoid adding TV, computers, and cell phones as part of the ritual. This disrupts sleep faster than encourage it. Additionally, deep breathing, stretching, counting sheep, and visualizing a peaceful place will ease the mind away from brain activity to serenity. If you must exercise before bed, perform yoga. The pre-sleep routine’s purpose is for sleepers to customize a simple routine so the mind transitions from work to rest nightly.
Consequently, don’t turn the light on during the night. It signals to the body that it’s daytime, and it will become harder to fall back asleep.
Peace of Mind
Stress causes the mind to focus on the stressful problem and nothing else. Take the stress to bed and it’s unlikely the problem will melt away. You’ll struggle to attain sleep all night. Eliminate the problem by solving the problem immediately. If the problem is complex, break it up into manageable chunks. Organize manageable chunks by priority. Complete the most important first. Achieve as much as possible before bed. You’ll feel good knowing most of the work is complete.
A calm mind solves problems faster than a frustrated mind, so de-stress by taking a break from the stress. While shopping, chatting with friends, and massages are nice, none will ease your mind prior to bed. A solution is to allow worrisome thoughts to play out in your mind uninterrupted. As more worries occur, let those mentally play out. It won’t make the problem go away, but it will calm the mind. Upon waking, a renewed mind discovers a different problem-solving strategy not seen before.
Eat for Bed
The morning and afternoons require more food and beverages than evening. The daytime needs food for energy. A full stomach at night creates discomfort, disrupting sleep. Beverages at night disrupt sleep due to those unnecessary trips to the toilet. Specifically, do not consume caffeine beverages at night; avoid nicotine and alcohol for the same reasons.
Afternoon, morning, or night: when is the correct time to exercise? The answer is not nighttime. Exercising before bed does contain one benefit affecting sleep. The good night’s sleep is deeper, making sleepers well rested upon waking.
Physical activity, in general, energizes people to face challenges and uncertainties ahead. For morning exercisers, it’s a great energizer to begin the day. For afternoon exercisers, it’s a great boost to regain energy to finish the day strong. Consequently, exercising at night brings unnecessary energy when the mind should power down toward sleep. This unnecessary energy keeps the mind awake and alert when it should be resting.
As our lives become hectic, it seems like sleep is on the backburner. Sleep cannot remain on the sidelines; the results will catch up with you. The need for sleep isn’t leaving when life throws a curveball. Regain control of unforeseen circumstances and make time for you. Your mind will thank you.
Brian Rees is a media relations representative for Lumonol. In his spare time, he enjoys writing, music, and maintaining a healthy, conscious lifestyle.