1. Bright Lights Before Bed affects a Good Night’s Sleep
Turning out all the unnecessary lights in your house, and dim those that are necessary, if possible. Darkness is key for melatonin secretion, which is very important to go to sleep quickly and easily at the right time. Light a few candles around the house (but don’t leave them unattended, use a candleholder). This will help your body naturally get ready for sleep.
Through the years, our ancestors were dependent on our sun to light the way for them during the day. At night, they were dependent on the darkness to sleep. Many predators slept at night, so it was safer to rest then.
By following in the footsteps of our ancestors, you won’t be fighting your body for sleep, but instead working with it, getting you restful sleep.
2. Ambient light will keep you awake
Pull all your curtains to sleep better
Pulling your curtains closed prevents ambient light from your neighbors, passing cars, and other irritations through the night. These distractions can make restful sleep elusive, and harder to come by. Once you are asleep, bright light can trick your body into thinking that it is daytime.
Consider getting some black out curtains, like hotels frequently have. They are a bit more expensive than mini blinds or vertical blinds, but they will help keep light out of your bedroom. A sleep mask or some other sort of eye coverings designed for sleeping will also help.
3. Temperature Affects Your Sleep
One of the physiological processes involved with going to sleep is that your body lowers your temperature by a few degrees. The optimal temperature for sleep is in the 60 to 70 degree range. If you normally prefer a warmer environment, you may be sabotaging your sleep. When your body is getting ready for sleep, (without you knowing it), it naturally drops your core temperature a bit. This is a completely normal part of going to sleep. The lowest core temperature usually hits about 4:30 in the morning.
Now, I am not talking about dropping your thermostat to 40 degrees and freezing. Just a slight decrease in temperature is all that is needed, enough that your body isn’t fighting to get cooler.
4. Don’t forget the rest of your lights.
So, you have turned off most or all of the lights, and are curled up in your bed to watch Dancing with the Stars. It seems however, that you have forgotten a light. As it turns out, your television has either a LED or fluorescent lightbulb in it, so that you can see the colors. What’s more, the light produced by your television is most certainly one of the worst kinds of light to prevent sleepiness. Follow the link to learn how important darkness is for sleep.
The same goes for your computer monitor. And yes, your phone as well. Put your phone in a drawer and turn the ringer off unless there is some important call you are expecting in the middle of the night.
5. Effect of Caffeine and Alcohol on sleep.
Caffeine will keep you awake
Coffee affects your sleep whether you stay awake during the night or not. Caffeine spends a remarkably long time in your body, all things considered. The half-life of caffeine is 5 hours, which means if you have a Starbuck’s at 5 PM, you will have about half of the amount of caffeine still in your system at bedtime. Even if you sleep through the night, and you think that it doesn’t affect you, the quality of sleep is poor, when you have an extra cup of joe, and this will impact your activity next day. Cut out caffeine in the afternoon, and hopefully your mind won’t be overly stimulated at 10 PM.
Alcohol and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. 1 to 2 drinks before bed will help you go to sleep, but may increase sleep apnea symptoms, if you have any. Further drinking may cause nausea, vomiting, and other unpleasant effects that will hurt your attempts at a good nights. Try to taper off your drinking near the end of the day, and drink lots of water or possibly sports drink to replenish electrolytes, hopefully preventing a hangover the next morning.
By following these simple 5 steps, you can improve your sleep tonight and feel more rested and energetic tomorrow morning, ready to attack the day.