5 Do's and Don'ts Before Bed

Ever find yourself tossing and turning at night? Find it hard to fall asleep in the first place? Or maybe you wake up in the middle of the night and feel hopeless about getting back to sleep. If you answered yes to any of these, it may be because of what you do right before going to bed that affects your sound sleep. It may even be exactly the things you believe are helping you sleep that are actually doing just the opposite.  And with studies showing that a lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, we've decided to give you a few tips on how to get to sleep faster, stay asleep throughout the night, and feel refreshed in the morning.

1. Don't drink anything an hour before you go to bed. Especially alcohol. You may fall right to sleep after a few glasses of wine but the likelihood of waking up in the middle of the night is quite good. Think it's easy to fall asleep again? Well, good luck. What's more, drinking any liquids right before bed will increase your chances of needing to get up in the middle of the night to pee, which will also be quite disruptive to your beauty sleep.

2. Do drink an herbal tea an hour or two before bed to help put you in a relax state of being. A nice soothing decaffeinated tea like peppermint or chamomile are the perfect way to put your mind and body at ease after a long day, and prepare yourself for a night of restful sleep.

3. Don't watch T.V. or use electronic devices 30 minutes before going to bed. T.V. stimulates the mind and will have you up thinking all night. The harsh light from electronics (i.e. computer, iPad) disrupts your circadian rhythm (the biological clock that allows you to go to sleep and wake up at the times necessary for work, school, etc...) and therefore will make it harder for your brain to realize its time to fall asleep.

4. Do bore yourself. Read or do something monotonous that will bore you right to sleep. Reading something suspenseful or doing something that allows your mind to race will only prolong the process of falling asleep (If not keep you up reading until all hours of the night).

photo by: bunchadogs & susan

5. Don't exercise or take a hot bath right before bed. Do these things at least an hour or two before. The reason being that they both can indeed help you sleep better, but done too close to bedtime will leave you hot and bothered. Ideally you want your body temperature to be cool for the optimum sleeping ability.

Although we may not all need our 8 hours of sleep, we do need a solid night of sleep. And by abiding by these 5 simple rules, you should increase your chances on a better night's sleep and an even better day ahead. Not to mention a slimmer waistline.

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