Sleep is incredibly important and without it, you can encounter a lot of problems. It is a common activity that all of us engage in and it is important to the right amount and the right quality of sleep every night. This is why it can start to worry people when they lack sleep. People are aware of the consequences of sleep deprivation and how it can lead to cognitive impairment and a lack of motivation. Therefore, making sure that you are getting enough sleep is very important and can help you in the following day.
Many of you might struggle to sleep. There could be a number of reasons to this but that is not what the focus of this article is. You’re reading this to find out the ways in which you can prepare yourself for sleep. The body works on a clock and it is important that you shut down in the right ways, increasing your likelihood of a quality sleep.
This article will look at the best ways you can prepare for sleep and some of them you may already know. They are common (and some uncommon) way to let your body know it is time to rest. This will be of huge benefit to some readers who are currently struggling to get their hours. If you’re interested in learning more, continue to read this article.
9 Ways to Prepare for Sleep
Through our thorough research, we have identified 9 ways you can use to prepare for sleep. They are very actionable and can be used from the moment you stop reading this article. Without further ado, here they are.
Take a Bath
This is one that many of you may have experienced by accident. Taking a hot bath before bed is incredibly helpful for when it’s time to sleep and can cause you to fall into a period of relaxation, which is very important for when you’re sleeping. The idea of a hot bath is well-known but it also has scientific support. This is because a lot of research has found that our body temperature changes rapidly during sleep, resulting in drastically drops.
The idea of the hot bath is to send your body into instant relaxation before bed. Because your body is exiting hot water, the cool-down period moments after is fantastic for inducing a sleep light experience. Doing this before bed can help the body calm and relax, sending you into a deep sleep when the moment arrives. It is recommended that you take a bath 2 hours before bed to give the largest effect.
Wear Socks to Bed
This might seem like an odd one but we have spoken about the benefits of socks in other articles. You can drastically improve your sleep and prepare for bed when you’re wearing socks. The idea is not widely researched but the general idea is that socks can help warm the feet up doing the night. The largest benefits can be seen during the winter months when you’re cold in the night.
Socks add an extra level of warmth to the body without overheating it – which can result in a poor sleep. Socks also help with circulation around the body as the socks squeeze the feet slightly. Some people have suggested that compressions socks will work even better, but the science behind this is a little loose.
Cut Out Caffeine in the Afternoon
I am a big victim of afternoon coffee. I picked it up from my parents and have done it ever since, despite them telling me to copy their habits. This is because caffeine is a stimulant, as many of you may know. This means it helps to produce neurochemicals that keep up awake and aware and it is for this reason why caffeine is used in intense jobs.
Many people believe that having a cup of coffee a few hours before bed will be fine and that their bodies will use up the caffeine in no time. This false thinking. Caffeine should be cut out in the early afternoon as it can still be buzzing around your body for hours, all the way up to bedtime. So if you’re a coffee drinker who likes to have a cup every few hours, you’re going to need to cut back if you want to prepare yourself for sleep.
Dim the Lights
This one is scientifically backed up and works like a charm. Just like light wakes you up, darkness or slight dim can send you to sleep. Having a dim switch can be very helpful for preparing your body to sleep. It is not healthy to stay in a bright light way into the evening, as this can confuse the body into thinking its day. You need to start dimming the lights as the evening passed, telling your brain that it’s time to rest and shut down.
The idea of dimming works with the natural circadian rhythms of the body. The dimmed light will start the production of melatonin, which is the neurotransmitter associated with relaxation and sleep. Again, it is all about mindset. Set up your environment correctly and work with the natural programming of your brain as it tends to be smarter than you think.
Establish Routines before Bed
We are slaves of our routine and that is no different when it comes to sleeping. All these tips should be used in conjunction of one another and not singled out. They should also be used every single night without exception. Routine and sleep go hand-in-hand, so setting up a tight schedule might help you drift off.
Routine has been spoken about previously in another article. You need to set a time and a wake up every day, even on weekends. Consistency is the key to a great night’s sleep, so make sure you have your schedule sorted and your preparations planned out. It will take time to get used to everything but it will help you out in the long-run.
Don’t Eat Lots before Bed
I am also a victim of this tip. I enjoy the night time snack which, again, was taught to me by my parents! We always used to have evening sweets or toast and although I thought this was harmless at first, it was actually affecting my sleep. Eating large meals before bed is a great way to ruin your sleeping pattern, as your body will be digesting the food throughout the night, keeping you awake.
Depending on what you eat also will affect your sleep quality. It has been noted by millions of people that spicy food might be the worst just before you’re about to hit the sack. Alcohol is also a stupid thing to drink before bed. Many people will try to fall asleep quicker by drinking a few glasses of wine and, although this gives the impression of aid, it actually disrupts your sleeping pattern during the night. Thus, when you wake up in the morning, you will feel sluggish and tired. Sleep deprivation makes up a good part of a hangover, just so you’re aware.
Be Cautious of Naps
When I was a student, napping was my favorite past time. I would come home from class and just crash out for hours on my bed. This was a mistake. Although napping does have its cognitive benefits, it can actually affect the speed at which you fall asleep during the evening. This can be a huge pain when you have an important thing to do the following day and you’re now cursing yourself for taking that 6-hour nap.
The trick with naps is having them early and have them short. You shouldn’t be taking massive daytime naps as you should have got plenty of sleep the night before. Taking a few small ones is helpful but avoid them after 5 pm, as this can ruin your actual sleep during the night.
Exercise during the Day
Exercise is a great way to prepare yourself for sleep, as I found when I first started running. My body would be tired and the relaxation of a bed would help me drift off quicker. So, the takeaway message here should be to hit the gym on a daily basis.
Although nobody is disagreeing with that, hitting the gym at the right time is very important. You should be exercising in the morning to early afternoon. This is when you will get the biggest benefits for your sleep that evening. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you will still have the adrenaline and dopamine rushing around your body, which acts as a stimulant (like coffee). If you have these in your body when you try to sleep, you’re going to have a very hard time relaxing. Again, this all goes back to routine, so plan your day ahead of yourself.
Rinse and Repeat
Now that you have all the advice and tips you need to prepare for sleep, you should take action. Using all these techniques would be difficult and you may struggle to implement them all. Start off with just a few and work your way up. The one thing you need to remember though is routine and consistency. Set yourself goals and start small. Try to stick to a difficult sleeping routine and don’t stop until you have it mastered. With perseverance, you can prepare yourself for sleep and get a quality night’s rest.