Whether you had a busy cycling day or you are gearing up for a trek in the morning, you need a goodnight’s rest. But, did you know that what you do right before bed can cause you sleeping issues? It’s true – and many of us do these things on a nightly basis. Below are the things you do not need to do before bedtime, so you can have a successful day tomorrow.
Bright Lights Lit
For at least a half hour before going to bed, try to avoid bright lights. Dim your office lights if you absolutely must be working this close to bedtime, and kill the unhealthy flourescent ones. This includes all those iDevices, too, including your phone, iPod, and even television. Why? Because even 5 minutes of white light from a screen suppresses melatonin levels, by more than 50 percent. Translation? Melatonin, otherwise known as the sleep hormone, levels in the blood rise sharply and you begin to feel less alert in the evening, and sleep becomes more inviting. If light is around, you’ll have less of a natural inclination to hit the hay and stay sleeping.
Not all that surprising, scary things can mess with your mind before hitting the sheets. Watching graphic violence on TV might make it harder for you to fall and stay asleep.
Uh oh! This one can impact those who cycle later into the night. You should not exercise for at least 2 hours before going to bed, unless you count restorative yoga and breathing exercises as exercise. Exercising in general, however, definitely helps sleep. A 2013 Sleep in America poll found that people who exercise at any time of day report sleeping better and feeling more rested than those who don’t exercise.
In general, don’t drink coffee after 2:00 p.m. or at least 8 hours before bedtime, whichever comes first. This will make sure you get all of the cognitive benefits of caffeine without sacrificing your sleep. Researchers at Michigan’s Henry Ford Hospital’s Sleep Disorders & Research Center and Wayne State College of Medicine found that caffeine consumed even six hours before bedtime resulted in significantly diminished sleep quality and sleep quantity. The best thing you can do? Keep track of your caffeine intake and sleep patterns to see how it affects you.
There is a window from 10:45 and 11:00 p.m. or so when you naturally get tired, that fluctuates based on season. According to Bulletproof Diet author Dave Asprey, if you don’t go to sleep then and choose to stay awake, you’ll get a cortisol-driven “second wind” that can keep you awake until 2:00 a.m. For some, that can be majorly detrimental to their overall productivity.