If you are like most of the American population, you watch TV shows or movies before you go to sleep. Some people bring laptops or tablets into bed and fall asleep next to them, as though they are cuddling a stuffed animal. In fact, a 2018 statistic found that 60% of the American population watches TV right before falling asleep. This number most likely increased since then. Is all of this screen time before bed good for your sleep?
Blue light exposure at night can interfere with the body’s circadian rhythm, awakening the brain and reducing melatonin production. A new study found that falling asleep with the TV on can contribute to weight gain and obesity. The study concluded that reducing artificial light exposure before bed may contribute to obesity prevention. But this isn’t the only reason to turn off screens before bed. Too much screen time before bed can deplete your melatonin reserves, which can make it more difficult to fall asleep and wake up at regular times.
What Should You Do Before Bed?
If you want to sleep more soundly and be more productive in the mornings, there are simple nighttime habits you can adopt. If you start limiting your screen exposure at nights, you’ll find that your sleep improves. Switch up your nighttime routine and adopt the following productive habits before bed for more restful sleep.
Read A Book:
There’s nothing like doing a little brain work before you go to sleep. Reading takes your mind off everything else and you become invested in the material. It also relaxes the mind and helps you feel more tired and sleepy. Several studies suggest that reading for 30 minutes before bed can improve cognitive abilities, memory, and reduce stress.
Avoid Food And Drinks 2 Hours Before Bed:
Since the body is sedentary while you sleep, any calories you consume will sit in the body. If you eat close to bedtime, you may notice that you wake up with stomach pain. Additionally, you may find that it’s harder to fall asleep when you eat so close to bedtime. It’s beneficial to stop eating at least two to three hours before bed. You can have some water, but stay away from food and other beverages.
There’s nothing like a nighttime meditation routine. It can help calm the mind and body, releasing the stress from the day. If you find that meditation is too difficult, try guided meditation or sound bathing, both of which are excellent ways to wind down before you go to sleep.
Take A Hot Shower Or Warm Bath:
Studies have shown that the temperature of your body influences your sleep. When your internal core body temperature is lower, you can fall asleep more easily and sleep more soundly. You should also have your sleeping environment be between 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit because you get the best sleep in that temperature range. When you exit a hot shower or bath at night, the body cools down as you dry off. You have to take a shower or bath at least an hour or two before bed to allow your body the time to cool down for a better night’s sleep.
Different scents can influence our mood and thoughts. Many people find that aromatherapy helps to release stress from the body and prepare it for a better night’s sleep. When you incorporate certain essential oils into your nighttime routine, you’ll find that your sleep benefits. Lavender essential oil increases slow wave sleep, which helps to relax muscles. Clary sage aids with relaxation and valerian can improve sleep quality, while helping your feel more energized when you wake up.
Write In A Journal:
You may find that journaling at night helps you express gratitude for the day you had. You can reflect on the day and also plan for the next day or week. How can you change your actions to achieve different results? What worked for you that actually improved the overall quality of your day? It’s important to let your internal thoughts and feelings out onto the page, so write down anything you want. You may find that this helps reduce your stress levels.
Work On A Hobby:
It’s too easy to sit on the couch and mindlessly watch TV. Why not work on that project you’ve been putting off for months? Chip away at your hobby or project every night and you’ll find that your stress levels go down and you feel better about yourself. It’s always beneficial to go to bed with a feeling of accomplishment because it readies you for the next day. If you don’t have a hobby, consider learning a new skill! Take up painting, learn Photoshop, or attempt to learn a new language.