Photo by Gregory Pappas
You stay up late just to finish that episode of Grey’s Anatomy or binge scrolling on Instagram in bed, and before you know it, it’s already 2am. You know what's in store for you the next day. Brain fog. You swear to yourself you won’t do it again, but it’s just so hard to set these sleep boundaries! Being constantly sleep deprived leads to making bad decisions and unhealthy food choices (that cheeky midnight binge…). It’s also a lot harder to focus and stay alert during the day.
If you want to feel more energised the next day, here are 10 steps you can follow to build a healthier sleeping routine and stop feeling like a zombie.
1. Skip that glass of wine at nightWhile having a glass of wine or beer might help you relax after a long day at work, alcohol could hinder your sleep quality, especially affecting your body going into REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is the stage that helps restore the body. Heavy consumption of alcohol may also contribute to breathing impairments at night. So think twice before you reach for that night cap next time.
2. Minimise your digital screen time
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Scrolling through Instagram and Facebook before going to sleep is almost a given to us millennials these days. Blue lights from digital screens actually contain sleep-disrupting wavelengths and can wreck up your body’s circadian rhythm, which means you’ll get lighter sleep and it’s easier to wake up in the middle of the night. Want to sleep deeper and better? Sleep Foundation suggests putting your phone down at least 30 minutes before bed. No cheating!
3. No big meals before bedtime
Oh yes, that midnight walk to the fridge when hunger strikes late at night (we’ve all been there). Studies have shown that eating before bedtime affects sleep quality, so it’s best to eat your last big meal 4 hours before bed time and stay away from spicy and fatty food late at night, or else you might get heartburn or acid reflux.
4. Have your last cup of coffee before 4pm
A lot of us are dependent on coffee to be fully functional. While having a morning cup of joe keeps us fuelled, getting a caffeine fix in the afternoon could make it harder for you to fall asleep at night. As caffeine is stimulating and stays in your body for several hours, try not to drink another cup at least six hours before bedtime.
5. Commit to a sleep routine
We can’t stress enough how important good sleep hygiene is! Try to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday so your cardiac rhythm is balanced. You can set up a “Snoozzzy” alarm (see what we did there?) to remind yourself it’s time to go to bed.
6. Design your own bedtime ritual
Photo by Christopher Jolly
Give yourself some time to relax before hitting the sack. Listen to soothing music (our favourites are Max Richter and The Wong Janice. Look them up on Spotify!), read a book until you’re sleepy enough, or even doing a bedtime meditation. If you’re new to doing breathing exercises or meditation, you can download apps such as Insight Timer and Headspace, which offer guided meditation and breathing exercises. We also recommend having a cup of ReadySlim’s Snozzzzy nighttime detox tea 1-hour before bed for optimal sleep.
7. Marie Kondo your sleep space
Remember that your bedroom is a sacred place for you to rest and rejuvenate at night, and it’s important to declutter the space! Pull a Marie Kondo (if you haven’t watched her show on Netflix, watch it over the weekend) and keep your room gadget-free. No phone, tablet, or TV, so you won’t be distracted and end up sleeping late. Invest in a good mattress and pillows for a good night’s sleep. Comfy PJs are also key.
8. Avoid late afternoon naps
Taking naps might help you recharge quickly, but napping in the middle of the day can make it harder for you to fall asleep at night. Try to get some natural sunlight outside for 15-30 minutes to recharge your energy levels instead!
9. Exercise earlier in the day
Avoid intensive exercising right before bedtime since your increased heart rate could affect your sleep quality. However, studies have shown that people who exercise regularly do get better sleep than those who don’t, and it’s best to finish exercising 2-3 hours before bedtime.
10. Get out of bed to relax if you can’t sleep
For people who suffer from insomnia and have trouble falling asleep, it’s easy to keep checking the clock every other minute. Avoid looking at the clock and if you’re still awake after lying in bed for 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing to ease your mind.