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While we all know that a healthy diet and regular exercise are keys to being healthy, there are other factors that contribute to your body’s health.
Getting a good night’s sleep each day is essential to maintaining your health.
In addition to helping you be more productive and happier each day, sleep also helps boost your immune system and prevents a variety of illnesses.
But getting a good night’s sleep is easier said than done for some people. If you’re having problems getting to sleep each night, consider changing your habits and stop doing these five things for a better night’s sleep.
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5 THINGS TO STOP DOING FOR BETTER SLEEP
CLOSING THE SHADES
Exposing yourself to bright light during the day can help keep your circadian rhythm in check. Your circadian rhythm is your body’s natural clock – it tells your body when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time to sleep. Natural light or bright artificial lighting during the daytime hours is essential to keeping your circadian rhythm healthy. In addition to helping you increase your energy during the daytime hours, a healthy circadian rhythm can also help improve your sleep quality at night.
The best way to keep your circadian rhythm ticking smoothly throughout the day is to expose yourself to plenty of natural light. Head outside to soak in the sun’s rays or open the shades in your home or office to allow sunlight to shine through the windows. But if you don’t have a way to enjoy natural light during the day, installing an artificial bright light in your space can also be beneficial.
DRINKING CAFFEINE IN THE AFTERNOON
While caffeine, and coffee, in particular, have amazing benefits to your health, drinking too much caffeine or drinking caffeine late in the day can seriously affect the quality of your sleep. We all know that a single serving of caffeine can enhance our focus and increase our energy, but too much of a good thing can quickly cause problems. Caffeine consumed late in the day can stimulate your body for hours after it’s consumed. That means those afternoon coffees could be keeping you from relaxing at night.
Since caffeine can stay in your system for six to eight hours, it’s a good idea to cut off your coffee and soda consumption at least six hours before you plan to go to sleep. If cutting coffee out of your afternoon routine isn’t an option, consider switching to decaffeinated coffee during the late afternoon hours to start getting a better night’s sleep.
LOOKING AT YOUR TECH
While bright light is a great idea during the day, exposure to the blue light that comes from phone and computer screens during the evening can have the opposite effect. Too much light exposure during the evening hours can work against your circadian rhythm, making your body think that it’s time to stay awake when it’s actually time to sleep.
One of the best ways to improve your sleep each night is to avoid electronic devices for at least two hours before you plan to go to bed. But avoiding all devices, from your television to your phone, for that long may be a difficult task. If you must enjoy your tech before bed, consider wearing glasses that block blue light or install an app on your phone that reduces the amount of blue light the device emits while in use.
MAKING YOUR BEDROOM A MULTI-USE SPACE
It’s tempting to set up your office in your bedroom or use the space as your home gym, but all this extra clutter may actually be hampering your ability to sleep well at night. In fact, there are a variety of factors in your bedroom that may be keeping you up at night, from the room’s temperature to the excess clutter surrounding your bed.
To help you get a better night’s sleep, take the time to optimize the space for sleep. Start by decluttering the space and removing everything that doesn’t revolve around sleep, making the room focused on sleep and nothing else. Then, take a deeper look at the room and remove the items that may cause sleep disturbances, like an alarm clock that emits artificial light or furniture that blocks vents causing the room to become too warm or cold at night.
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EATING A MIDNIGHT SNACK
Consuming a healthy diet is a great way to improve the quality of sleep you have each night, but eating too much food too close to bedtime can have a negative effect on your sleep. While eating a healthy dinner no less than four hours before bedtime is a great way to help you sleep better, consuming calories in the late evening or into the night can have the opposite effect.
To make sure your eating habits aren’t affecting your sleep patterns, time your meals and snacks so you aren’t eating right before heading to bed. Instead, make sure your body has plenty of time to digest your meal before you lay down for the night.
Whatever changes you make, do know that you can sleep better without having to resort to medication if you stick to a few of these ways on the list!