Following healthy bedtime habits not only ensures that you get better sleep, but it can also help you to set the tone for the next day. Sleep is an essential part of our routine that helps our body and mind to rest, recover and rejuvenate.
A well-planned bedtime routine is of great help as you can begin the following day without feeling stressed or lethargic.
Below are described a few healthy bedtime habits that everyone should follow to give a boost to their health and psychological well-being.
Sleep Early And Maintain A Regular Sleep Schedule
It is very important to sleep early and to go to bed at the same time every day. Adhering to a strict sleep schedule makes it easier for the body to follow this routine.
Although the exact amount of sleep required varies from person to person, one should aim to get a sound sleep of at least 6-8 hours.
It is only if you go to bed early that you will be able to wake up early the next day. As we all know, getting up early in the morning is a healthy habit and leads to a number of benefits. Sleeping late will provide you inadequate sleep and you will feel drowsy and inefficient the next day.
Also if you make a routine to sleep at the same time daily, your body gets into that schedule and you will not have to struggle every day to fall asleep. Make sure to follow this routine even on weekends and holidays.
Eat A Light Dinner
Eating a light healthy dinner at least 2 hours before going to bed helps in better digestion of the food. It also promotes good sleep and ensures that you wake up fresh the next morning.
At night time, the metabolic rate of our body is the lowest. So if you consume a heavy meal, the body will not be able to digest it properly and the excess calories consumed will get accumulated as fat leading to obesity.
Skipping dinner altogether is also not a good idea as it can lead to tiredness and sluggishness the next day.
Ideally, your dinner should include complex carbohydrates that are present in whole grains along with seasonal vegetables or pulses. Fatty foods like deep-fried foods or foods rich in saturated fats should be avoided.
Have A Glass Of Milk
You can also have a glass of warm milk at night time just before you go to bed.
Besides being a rich source of proteins and calcium, milk, is also rich in sodium, vitamins (A, K, and B 12), amino acids, fibers, and anti-oxidants. Due to its high nutritional value, milk is also called a complete meal. It contains an amino acid called tryptophan which is known to promote good sleep. It also contains melatonin which is believed to regulate the sleep-wake up cycle.
Having milk just before going to bed is also beneficial for people having constipation.
Adding a little ginger, cardamom, or turmeric to milk greatly enhances its nutritional value.
Milk should, however, be avoided by people who are lactose intolerant, glucose-intolerant, or those aiming for weight loss.
Stay Away From Gadgets
It is a good practice not to use any electronic gadget like a smartphone, TV, computer, or tablet at least half to one hour before going to bed. In addition, try to keep these gadgets away from yourself or from your bed both during this time and during sleep.
The body and the brain actually need to slow down and rest during this period. On the contrary, these electronic devices stimulate the brain continuously, keeping it in an alert and engaged mode.
Most electronic gadgets emit blue light. This light delays the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. Thus it interferes with our circadian rhythm or the sleep cycle.
The longer you stare at your devices, the greater would be the negative effect.
You can rather use this time for other activities like reading a book, talking to your children, spouse or other family members, and bonding with them. Or you can unwind yourself by having a warm bath or listening to music.
Summarize Your Day
[Yes! It is one of the healthy bedtime habits]
It basically means to reflect upon the day’s happenings. You can either write down your activities or talk about it with a trusted family member or can simply make a mental note.
First and foremost, you need to note down whether you were able to finish the tasks you had planned for today. Was there any pending work or job that you could not do and needs to be done the next day? What were the things you enjoyed doing? Were there any problems you faced today? If yes, how did you resolve them? Could you have done that any differently or in a better way?
The basic idea is to bring closure to the day that is now past. If you don’t do this, you will keep on thinking about it throughout the night thus jeopardizing your sleep. Summarizing your day helps you to relax and calm down and be enthusiastic about the next day.
Plan For The Next Day
Once you have summarized your day, take out some moments to plan your next day.
You may not make a detailed plan which can be done the next early morning. All that is required is to make a broad outline of the activities that need to be completed and prioritize them.
Preparing a ‘to-do’ list helps to decrease your stress level and allows you to sleep peacefully.
Having a mini-plan ready for the next day also ensures that you will not find it difficult to get up the next morning. There will be a lesser tendency to postpone waking up if you are mentally prepared to complete the day’s chores.
Being thankful for all the little things that you have been blessed with makes you realize that you have plenty to be happy about.
Rather than focusing on the upsetting things that are happening in your life ( eg. money matters, work problems, health, or relationship issues), or in the world around you, try to concentrate on all your blessings. It really helps to shift your attention and you tend to become more aware of all the good things in your life.
People who express gratitude are known to lead a healthy and happy life full of satisfaction and optimism.
If you do not have healthy bedtime habits, it will affect your sleep and then your overall life. Recent studies have suggested that not maintaining healthy sleep [aka healthy bedtime habits] leads to an increase in stress levels, heart problems, obesity among others.
Therefore, one must strive for healthy bedtime habits so that a night of good sleep can follow.