You might have a morning routine that kick-starts and energizes you for your busiest of weekdays, and if you’re a real pro – your weekends too. But what about a restful, nighttime routine? One that prepares your body and mind for that much needed decluttering, where you allow yourself to relax and drift into the deepest sleep possible.
Studies show that sleep deprivation is one of the most taxing sources of stress on the human body, causing moodiness, delirium, weakened immunity, high blood pressure, and even weight gain. And who wants those?
Within an hour or two before you hit the hay, try out these four scientifically-backed methods to get your circadian rhythm right where it needs to be.
1. Avoid the Kitchen
Eating right before bed is one of the worst things you can do to your body.
Some believe eating at night is a great way to pack on the pounds, and others see it as a great way to not really sleep at all. In the words of late nutritionist Adelle Davis, we should “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” Today, there is a slew of controversy about whether or not eating before catching some z’s actually causes weight gain, but what we do know is that eating late negatively affects your digestive flow and ability to hit REM – the deepest stage of sleep.
To put it plainly, waking your digestive system and trying to sleep do not mix.
See, when you eat before bed, you inadvertently suppress your body’s ability to produce melatonin; one of if not the most important hormones responsible for regulating your sleep-wake cycle. Pair that with the close correlation found between late-night snacking and sleep quality and there you have it – a formula for some lousy sleep.
2. Dim the Lights
Your eyes see lights and immediately send a signal to your brain that says “It’s daytime!” which is the trick of artificial lighting on all of us. When you intentionally darken your environment, this tells the brain to release norepinephrine, the neurotransmitter that activates the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, which is pretty important, remember?
Try dimming the lights in your house. If your lights don’t have a dimming feature, light some candles instead. Don’t have candles? Try draping translucent materials such as scarves and thin blankets over lamps and light fixtures closer to the floor. This will help set the mood lighting your brain needs to get the memo that it’s time to unwind.
3. Step into Some Socks
That’s right, socks. Apparently, having warm feet before bed equals less time needed to drift into dreamland. Studies show that when your feet are warm, the blood vessels in them dilate and subsequently send signals to your brain that it’s time to count sheep. In fact, vasodilation has been long known to aid in the process of falling asleep quickly.
Better grab your fuzziest pair.
4. Listen to Music
We’re a huge fan of this one. So much so that we’ve created public playlists on Spotify for the sole purpose of helping you relax and fall asleep faster. Search for “nuvanna” on Spotify to check them out.