There is pretty much nothing better than waking up refreshed. Unfortunately, most mornings are not spent bathing in the glory of a good night’s sleep. Rather, we spend our Mondays feeling life Garfield, and the rest of the week may even feel like Monday sequels. Sleep and mental health have a direct and close relationship. Believe it or not, getting a good night’s sleep can drastically affect your mood your decision-making processes. Ever blame a bad decision on lack of sleep? You’re actually onto something.
Sleep is essential, but sometimes we can’t fall asleep and this sleeplessness can feel like it’s coming out of nowhere. There are many factors that can affect our ability to get a good night’s sleep. So without further ado, here are a few things you might have never thought of before.
1. Avoid Eating Spicy or Greasy Food
Ana Krieger, MD, MPH, Medical Director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine, told NBC News that keeping up a diet with sustainable nutrients affects our sleep. These experts recommend a small dinner and a big breakfast in order to maintain good sleeping habits.
Perhaps on a day you know you’ll need sleep that night—maybe the day before an interview—you should try eating a healthy balanced diet to prepare for that night’s rest. Getting a good night’s sleep can impact your performance immensely. A light, healthy meal is suggested for the evening if you want to sleep like the dead, without waking up feeling like the dead.
2. Avoid Caffeine Six Hours Before Bed
Caffeine causes adrenaline, which can make it hard to sleep. Some nights you may find yourself feeling like a shaken can of soda. Believe it or not, caffeine can stay in your system for up to six hours.
As the most popular drug, it is difficult to refuse the afternoon cappuccino, but if you do have to wake up early the next day, it is not recommended. Resist temptation, because caffeine before bed can reduce sleep by a whole hour.
3. Don’t Go to Bed Hungry
As NBC News reports, a balanced daily diet is the ultimate goal for a full nights rest. Trying to fall asleep with a growling stomach can be difficult, especially if the growling is loud. A light snack could actually help you sleep.
Bananas, turkey, and berries are some of the foods that are recommended before bed. This study found that drinking tart cherry juice before trying to sleep helps people with insomnia fall asleep faster.
4. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated all day can improve your sleep. This article recommends a hydration schedule that includes drinking water as soon as you wake up and a glass of water before bed.
There are many foods that will help you stay hydrated too. Strawberries and watermelon are a few fan favorites but skim milk, cottage cheese, and plain yogurt are also great hydrators.
5. Technology is Keeping You Up
Maybe you think your late night tweets are mind-blowing, but what you may not realize is how that screen is affecting your sleep. The light from a screen can restrain your ability to produce melatonin, which is a hormone you need to get that beauty rest. It is recommended you give yourself thirty minutes of transition time between putting your phone down and trying to sleep to help you unwind.
Technology does another thing to us when we squeeze in Netflix before bed: it tricks our brains. TV, tablets, and phones makes your brain think it needs to be awake, so our brains get stimulated and this makes it harder to relax. So deleting endless emails may seem soothing, but before bed it’s digital red bull. Give yourself some time to unwind.
Believe it or not, keeping your feet warm also helps you relax, but some of the best ways to relax your mind are light stretching, or breathing exercises. Mindful breathing helps slow our heart rates and ease our stressed minds.
Overall, sleep greatly affects how we act and react, and improving your health can improve your life immensely. So maybe skip that 5pm cup of joe for some cherry juice and you just might thank yourself when you wake up ready to go go.