Evening habits to guarantee a good night’s sleep

In order to ensure a good night’s sleep, it’s worth trying to develop healthy evening habits so that you’re ready for rest once bedtime comes around. Her are a few ideas you can try that should help get you in the mood for blissful unconsciousness.

Avoid Screens
In the two hour lead-up to bedtime try to avoid bright screens if at all possible. TVs, tablets and computer screens tend to emit blue light which can have a really negative impact on sleep. If you insist on playing around with your tablet or smart-phone before bed, turn the brightness down a notch or two so that blue light emission is kept to a minimum.

Avoid Late-Night Television
Television can really stimulate the senses, which isn’t terribly helpful if you want to get some sleep. Unfortunately many people watch TV to wind down. However, the glare can suppress melatonin (the chemical which encourages sleep) so relaxation can become difficult. Instead of television, consider reading or listening to an audio book. You can always record your favourite TV program and watch it at a later time.

Reading
As mentioned, reading can often be useful at inducing drowsiness at night. But beware of back-lit e-readers such as the iPad or Kindle Fire due to their tendencies to project blue light. Some e-readers are fine to use before bed although it’s worth doing some pre-purchase research before investing. Alternatively, you could just rely on an actual book for your reading pleasure.

Darken the Room
Take time to prepare your room for sleep beforehand. The darker it is, the better you’ll sleep. Heavy curtains or blackout blinds can be really effective at keeping the light out. Sleep masks are also useful and can help guard against in-room distractions such as the glare from alarm clocks and other electronic devices.

Exercise
Many people opt to exercise after work. This is a great way of promoting rest and is known to increase the amount of time spent in a deep, restorative stage of sleep. So the more you exercise, the better your sleep will be. Even light exercise is known to improve sleep quality.

Keep the lights dim
If you get up at night try to avoid turning the main lights on if at all possible. You’ll obviously need some sort of lighting so that you can move around safely. So consider installing a dim light in your hall or bathroom so that you’re not startled into full consciousness. Alternatively, use a torch to help you navigate your darkened living space.

Avoid Evening Naps
Try to avoid napping on the sofa after work. This is often easier said than done and is sometimes made worse if you’ve had a big evening meal. If you feel your eyes getting heavy, get up and do something that will make you feel more alert.

Avoid Caffeine
Avoid things such as coffee or carbonated drinks. These can often contain caffeine which is known to disrupt sleep and make it extremely difficult to nod-off. If you’ve got a taste for these kinds of beverages try to avoid them after 6pm.

[Photo by: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License: CC-BY 2.0]

Leave a Reply