Sweeter Dreams

Hints for healthier sleep habits.

Text by Lipsa Shah

We all wish we could go to sleep the same exact way—turn off the lights, slide into our fresh sheets, close our eyes, and completely surrender our bodies to rest. But for many people, the problematic difference is that this simple task is much harder to do than for others. How we prepare ourselves for bed—physically and mentally—is just as important as how many hours of sleep we get. (Ask most health advocates and they’ll say the optimum hours should be eight!) We all know what happens the next day when we don’t get enough sleep: not only are we exhausted, but we’re also grumpy; our brains are cloudy; and the day seems to drag on longer than usual. A good night’s sleep is imperative to properly reset our bodies, both emotionally and physically. It is the time for our muscles to heal, our tissues to renew, and our brains to recharge. 

 Here are some tips that will help your shut-eye come more easily:

Turn your electronics off at least an hour or two before you plan on calling it a night. Reducing your blue light exposure will help your brain wind down quicker.

If you still use your phone as an alarm clock, stop! Buy a new alarm clock; better yet, invest in a “mood clock” that will soothe you to sleep with mindful white noise or delicate sounds of nature, and wake you gently with gradually increasing light and softly chirping birds. In the meantime, turn your phone on airplane mode.

• Eat a light dinner. Your dinner should ideally be no later than 7:30 PM. 

• Enjoy chamomile tea as an after-dinner beverage to help your body wind down.

• Magnesium is also a great remedy to take before bed, as it relaxes your mind and muscles.

• Embrace the Cinderella deadline and aim to sleep a few hours before midnight. It is said that the sleep you get before midnight is more restorative than sleep after midnight. 

• Go to bed at the same time every night. This may seem like a struggle at first, but letting your body adjust to the schedule will help you to fall asleep more quickly. 

• Completely clear your mind before committing the rest of your night to bed. This is another one of those “easier said than done” scenarios, but the more often you do this, the quicker it will become second nature. Here’ s one way: Take a 10-minute walk in the fresh air after dinner to unwind from the day and the stresses you may be holding onto.

5 Foods to Avoid Before Bedtime
(These can have a negative influence on sleeping) 

–Spicy foods
–French fries

Mindfulness & Meditation Apps

–OMG I Can Meditate!
–Ten Percent Happier