4 Things You're Skipping Before Bed but Shouldn't Be
We all know a good night of sleep is crucial to functioning during the day, but did you know there are long-term benefits to good sleeping habits?
When you are dozing off, your body is hard at work repairing blood vessels, balancing hormones and more. Without those crucial hours of rejuvenation every night, your body doesn’t have a chance to reset itself. Studies have shown ongoing sleep deficits can lead to increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity and other illnesses.1
Getting a better night’s sleep begins before your head even hits the pillow. You may know not to drink caffeine or look at a screen close to your bedtime, but there may be other activities that can make falling asleep easier. Adding these several quick methods to your daily bedtime ritual that will help improve your quality of sleep and leave you feeling more energized during the day.
1. Preparing for Tomorrow
When you’re exhausted from a long day, you’re probably tempted to just flop down in bed rather than prepare for the next stressful day. However, think of preparation for tomorrow as helping your future self be less stressed. By preparing the night before, you won’t have to jolt yourself out of a relaxing slumber, and you can take more time in the morning to get into the groove of your day.
Check the weather and choose your clothes for the next day. Make your lunch and lay out essential items you know you’ll need walking out the door (keys, sunglasses, etc.). If you’re a coffee drinker, set up the pot so it’s ready to brew at the touch of a button.
Try: Making grab-and-go breakfasts for the entire week on Sunday.
Buy: A programmable coffee machine so you have a fresh cup of joe waiting when you wake up.
2. Preparing Yourself for the Night
Do you just brush your teeth and jump into bed? That’s a great start, but why not make the most out of the time you spend asleep? Upgrade your grooming process before bed so you don’t have to spend as much time in the morning primping. There are several products formulated for long saturation times overnight. Depending on your hair or skin type, these overnight fixes can help greatly expedite your morning routine by cutting down on the time you take to tame your hair or fuss over skin blemishes.
Try: If you have long hair, wrap it loosely on top of your head and secure with a thick scarf to help it stay the way you want for an extra day.
Buy: An overnight face moisturizer to nourish and brighten your skin and even your tone while it works throughout the evening.
You may have always thought of stretching as a post-workout activity, but the benefits go beyond the gym. Stretching relaxes your body and allows you to release built up tension from the day, leaving your body primed for a more restful slumber. This is especially helpful if you sit at a desk and hold tension in your shoulder and back area. The best part? You can get a great stretch from the comfort of your own bed, no gym required!
Try: This nighttime stress-relieving stretch routine you can do from the comfort of your own bed.
Buy: A acupressure massage mat and neck pillow set to enhance your nighttime stretching routine.
4. Making Your Room a Zen Zone
Distracted by the chaos outside your home (or maybe even within your home)? Make sure you are eliminating any factors that can disrupt your sleep or that aren’t allowing you to fully relax. If you can’t control the noise level, consider ear plugs. If light is your problem, block it out with curtains and close your door — it’s safer in case of fires, too! If curtains aren’t an option for you, try a sleep mask to help create complete darkness for your slumber. If you’re still struggling to relax, below are a couple tools to help in the process.
Try: Introducing a meditation-based app or calming sounds to help drown out any outside noise or distractions.
Buy: Essential oils like lavender or cedarwood. They’re known for their calming qualities. Rub them on the soles of your feet before bed or use a diffuser to help spread the calming sent throughout the room.
1National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. (June 07, 2017). Why is sleep important? Retrieved July 11, 2017, from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why