Getting a good night’s rest is key to maintaining abundant health, but many people feel like they do not get enough sleep, or that they do not get enough quality, restful sleep.
From time to time, everyone likely experiences restless nights, sleepless nights or nights when getting enough sleep is simply not an option. For many, however, these are chronic problems. Simply getting to sleep can prove difficult for many. Sleep is so problematic for so many that Americans spent $41 billion in 2016 on sleep aides, a number which is expected to jump to $52 billion by 2020.
Sure, there are some natural sleep aids that may be beneficial. But just like diet and exercise habits, there are habits that can negatively impact the way we sleep.
Avoid Any Backlit Screens
Melatonin is a hormone that helps us fall asleep. Many take it supplementally to assist with sleep, but not everyone knows that your body makes it naturally. There is evidence that the blue light emitted from backlit screens can interfere with our natural melatonin production, making it more difficult for one to fall asleep. Given this, it is not surprising that many suffer from sleeplessness. Try avoiding watching television or looking at a laptop, smartphone or tablet before bed.
Turn Off Your Device
If the blue light itself is not a reason to turn off your smartphone before bed, there are plenty of other reasons why you should ditch technology before bed.
Devices like laptops, tablets and cell phones are pervasive throughout our society, and for all the efficiency they afford us, there are plenty of ill effects associated with their constant usage. Some studies cite decreased attention span and increased anxiety associated with constant usage.
Bedtime is no time for work, and while it may be tempting to check for emails or scroll through your phone as you lay down to sleep, this can prevent your mind from easing into a relaxed state conducive to restful sleep.
Do Not Eat Too Close to Bedtime
When you eat, your stomach excretes acids that can get into your throat and esophagus when you lie down. Going to bed on a full stomach can interfere with falling asleep properly.
In addition to this, there is evidence that dietary habits such as intermittent fasting, which involved eating only in a window of approximately 8 hours a day (i.e., 10AM-6PM) may provide some health benefits, such as weight loss. Regardless, avoiding meals well before turning in for bed may assist you in getting to sleep and getting better sleep.
Avoid Caffeine and Other Stimulants
This should be a no-brainer, but for our over-caffeinated society, this requires repeating: Caffeine can interfere with sleep.
Many people drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages throughout the day to mitigate the effects of a poor night’s sleep, only to discourage a good night’s sleep later on, as well. It is a vicious cycle.
For those on the Kaufmann Diet, you are already getting rid of most caffeinated beverages or foods containing caffeine. Eliminating caffeine in conjunction with a healthy diet helps many people resolve problems with their sleeping habits.