A poor night’s sleep is no joke! It makes for a groggy morning, an endless afternoon, and evening anxiety as you worry, “Will I be able to sleep better tonight?!” Some nights sleep evades us no matter how well we map out our “winding down” routine, but generally speaking, having good sleep habits BEFORE you get into bed are key for success. Here are my 3 big “no no’s” to avoid THREE HOURS before bedtime to help promote a better night’s rest.
- Exercise: Exercising too close to bedtime raises your core temperature, which makes it harder to fall sleep. You want your body—and your bedroom—cool when you hop in bed. Keep the thermostat low and keep an extra blanket on hand so you can regulate when you get too warm or cold. Exercise also releases “happy hormones” called endorphins in your brain, which we like, but just not before bed as they are stimulants.
2. Food: Eating a heavy, late dinner wreaks havoc on your digestion and causes heartburn, which both will keep you wake. And once you do fall asleep, your body spends the first hours of sleep digesting your meal, instead of doing its “real” job which is to detox your system and just letting your organs rest. People often wake up exhausted the morning after a late dinner party full of rich foods because their sleep was not restful and restorative.
3. Liquids: Drinking water all evening is good for a lot of things…but not for sleep! Getting up 2 or 3 times a night to use the bathroom disrupts your sleep cycles and makes it difficult to fall back to sleep too. Try to drink water like its your unpaid job in the morning and afternoon. That should get you to your goal, and by dinner time just take small sips of water, herbal tea or bone broth.
Finally, avoid screens for an hour before bed and dim or turn off your lights. Melatonin (aka the “hormone of darkness”) production gets interrupted by artificial light. When you are scrolling through photos on your iPhone, your brain thinks it is daytime so it fights to stay awake. Reading a book is great, but even watching television I am okay with–when it is across your bedroom and not on a laptop sitting on your chest. That is basically it is like trying to fall asleep while staring at the sun! Sleep tight…