Let’s face it! If you are a part of the 21st Century whether you own an iPhone, tablet, laptop, or have a TV in your bedroom, you hop in bed and are most times tempted to catch up on some sort of news. Whether it be Facebook for any upcoming birthdays to prepare for, or catch up on some Real Housewives. Without really knowing it, you are stunting the melatonin production and throwing off the quality of your sleep and leaving you rather lethargic the next day.
It seems like it would not really be a big deal and it’s just habit to plug in your electronic device, set your alarm for the next day, etc. but the science of the light itself is enough to hinder your slumber, let alone the racing thoughts that come along with every photo and update you come across.
Sleep is something so incredibly important to each and every one of our lives, and it can easily be taken for granted. In order for our bodies to function properly we need a significant amount of sleep depending on our age and activity levels. What many of us forget, is the link that sleep not only has to our moods, energy, and functioning, but it’s affect on our diet and consumption as well.
Besides the obvious factors that play into these racing thoughts, there are several actions that many of us take part in without even realizing.
One Last Glance
As we know, checking our phones before bed can distract us, get our minds racing, and so on but it is the light that is given off from the blue part of the spectrum that actually reacts with the melatonin chemicals in our brain and really slows down the production. Chances of getting rid of this habit are very slim, but it is something to be aware of. In fact, there are specialized screen protectors that block such light in hopes of keeping the melatonin activity going at a normal rate. Simply by reducing the amount of light you encounter about an hour to an hour and a half before bed will make a difference.
On days off or nice vacation getaways, black out curtains and heavy drapes always seem so charming. They are great for allowing you to catch up on some sleep but having them as a part of your daily routine in your home can be a little more detrimental than beneficial. Natural sunlight resets your circadian rhythm and will have you up and at em’ with natural energy before you know it. If you just can’t give up those dark drapes, peel yourself out of bed and eat your breakfast next to a sun lit window to get yourself moving.
Exercising Daily and The Proper Time
We are all well aware of how great exercise is for you in every aspect of your life. The only thing to keep in mind is that the time of day and how regularly you partake in it strongly affect your sleeping patterns. The way to know if it is helping or hurting you is to figure out the affects it has on you. There are usually two types of people. Morning workout feigns that like a nice sweat to get their day started and energized versus evening unwinders that find exercise as a nice way to get out their built-up stress from the day and fall to a natural relaxation after a nice evening workout. Exercising daily whether it be 20 minutes or an hour will have you catching Z’s in no time.
After a few cocktails or a long night out, you are bound to yearn for a while longer sleep when it comes to the weekends. The rule of thumb is no longer than 30 minutes. It may feel more than necessary that Saturday morning, but when it comes to the grind on Monday you will have shifted your circadian clock and it will be 10x harder to get back to your routine.
Large, Late Night Meals
Unlike many other countries having a quaint early meal is not out of the ordinary here in the U.S. This comes as a benefit to us because having dinner around 6 p.m. rather than 9 p.m. gives our bodies enough time to digest our meal and fall asleep with a settled stomach. Having a large meal late at night does not give us enough time to properly break down foods leaving us with an upset stomach when trying to fall asleep, which is never helpful.
Showering Before Bedtime
Our bodies are incredible machines that naturally cool down for an increased melatonin production when a certain time of night rolls around. This internal cooling can be even more powerful if you take a nice hot shower about an hour before bed allowing the body to cool off the steam and settle into a cozy night of sleep.
These are just 6 short tips to keep in mind when refining your evening routine. As we mentioned earlier sleep is incredibly important to your energy, but is also one of the main factors that affects our weight loss journey as well!