Our bodies require an immense amount of energy to function every day. We’ve all been there: after a long day of work or school, nighttime rolls around and you can almost feel your bed calling to you. But why is that? Why do our bodies send signals to our brains to sleep? Think of it like a car: A car starts it’s journey on a full tank of gasoline and as it drives along, the gas tank starts to get emptier and emptier. Eventually, as the car nears the end of its journey, it must stop at a gas station to refuel. Now take this idea and replace the gas station with your bed, gasoline as your energy, and the car as your body. We use sleep to refuel and replenish our bodies, and a good night’s sleep is a key factor in how we feel and perform every day. But how do we get a “good night’s sleep”? Here are four of NextStep’s Tips to a Good Night’s Sleep!
1. Eliminate Screen Time
In our day and age, screens are everywhere. Televisions, phones, computers, tablets, videogames, even refrigerators! Although we spend hours every day staring at them, screens have been scientifically proven to negatively affect the way our brain experiences deep sleep, disrupting not only the way sleep replenishes the brain, but also how easy it is for us to fall asleep. Doctors recommend that you shouldn’t be consuming any screen time at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep.
2. Exercise Regularly
Referring back to the car metaphor, the more a car drives = the more gas it needs. This relates to humans because the more energy a human uses, the more tired we will be at the end of the day. So what’s the best way to exhibit energy? Exercising! Getting at least 60 minutes of exercise every day will lead to an increased desire to sleep, which should make it easier for your body to rest at the end of a long day.
3. Cut Out Caffeine
If there was anything that would be considered the “anti-sleep”, it would be the one and only: caffeine. Caffeine is a drug found in drinks such as coffee, Redbull, and some teas. It’s designed to give you artificial energy and keep you awake by giving your body a “boost”. Caffeine is designed to keep you from sleeping, so if you’re having trouble sleeping, stop drinking caffeine.
4. No Food 2–3 Hours Before Bedtime
Just because your body isn’t awake, doesn’t mean it’s not functioning. Because of this, eating before bedtime can upset your stomach and your quality of sleep because your stomach wants to be sleeping with the rest of your body, but it can’t because it’s busy digesting your food. Alternatively, if you are very hungry and your stomach needs food, it will also disrupt your sleep because it’s continuously sending signals to your brain that it needs food. To avoid both these things from happening, eat an appropriate amount of food throughout the day but avoid eating anything 2–3 hours before bedtime.
After doing all of these, your body should be primed and ready for a good night’s sleep after a long day.
Get more tips by heading over to nextstepgoodlife.com to download the GoodLife app!