1. Don’t Overeat At Dinner
A full stomach makes sleeping difficult. Ideally, you should plan your dinner no later than three hours before your bedtime. Focus on protein and healthy fat for dinner, and reduce carbohydrates. Keep your dinner light, you typically won’t need much fuel for the rest of your day anymore at dinner time. Instead, start having larger meals for breakfast and lunch, when you actually need that fuel.
2. Have A Fixed Bedtime (Ideally Before 10 pm)
While the opinions are divided on what the ideal bedtime is, and if there is a general ideal bedtime or if its personal, most health and fitness websites recommend to sleep between 9 pm and 10 pm, and it’s a common Dutch saying that “the hours before midnight count double”. Try to sleep around the time your body starts to secrete melatonin, which is typically around 9:30 pm. Turn off the TV and your laptop, and make your sleep a priority!
3. Have A Bedtime Ritual
Ease into sleep by doing relaxing activities: journal, read a book, burn a candle or do some gentle stretches so that you can prepare yourself mentally for sleep. Create a sunset in your house by bringing down the intensity of the lights half an hour to an hour before your intended bedtime. Listen to a CD with soft music, get into your pajamas some time before you plan to sleep, and have some herbal tea or hot milk. Don’t expect that you can run all day and then press the off-switch on yourself and drift off to sleep right away!
4. Do Not Exercise Within Two To Three Hours Prior To Sleeping
While exercise wears out your body, it also causes a boost of adrenaline through your body that makes your mind all wired, and causes your body temperature to rise. Have you taken a 9 pm spinning class and then found yourself tossing around your bed without being able to sleep? It’s directly related to the unfortunate timing of your workout. Try a workout in the late afternoon instead. While going to the bed, you can try meditating to relax you brain and detach yourself from the outside world.
5. Sleep In A Dark Room.
Too much light in your room, either blue light from electronics or light peering through the curtains from outside, will interfere with your sleep and the secretion of melatonin. If you can’t eliminate certain electronics from your room, nor change to darker curtains or fully-shutting blinds, then invest in a good sleep mask. Don’t forget to take your sleep mask along for long flights as well.
6. Finish Your Day’s Business In Your Mind
Plan your next day before you go to bed, so that you don’t find yourself going over everything you need to do the next day while trying to fall asleep. If necessary, write down your worries before bedtime as well. Ideally, write your goals for the next day at the end of your work day into your planner. Think positive thoughts before you sleep, and keep gratitude and success lists to reflect on your day from a positive standpoint.