New year, new sleep routine. At least that’s the resolution many of us seem to make year after year, but come January, our goals of improving your nighttime practices have gone squarely by the wayside. So in order to make 2019 the year you finally make the change to a healthier and smoother bedtime, follow these 6 tricks to the optimal “sleep better” routine:
1. Choose your caffeine cutoff time
While caffeine comes with many benefits for your workouts, your weight loss, and even your skin, it may not have the same powerful effects on your sleep. Yes, a hot cup of joe can immediately perk you up in the morning and get you ready to start your day. But, if you’re consuming coffee well into the afternoon, it could be messing with your sleep, even hours later.
According to a 2013 study, drinking coffee even six hours before your bedtime means your sleep can be much more disturbed. This year, make it your goal to cut off your coffee intake at least six hours before bedtime (that includes coffee, tea, sodas, and other caffeine-loaded beverages) to ensure you’re able to fall asleep with no frustration.
2. Schedule your workout time wisely
Although you may think a night time workout session would tire you out and help you fall asleep within minutes, this isn’t necessarily the case. According to an Appalachian State University study, it turns out that scheduling your aerobic exercise in the morning is really what’ll help and improve your sleeping come bedtime.
3. Ditch your electronics
Keep your smartphone away from your bed, that’s a must rule. The blue light from the screen can be seriously problematic and can keep you stimulated — as opposed to relaxed — and can prevent the natural melatonin in your body from working properly and helping you sleep better.
4. Keep it dark
Once it’s time to head to bed, close the blinds, turn off all light sources, and keep it as dark as you can. Not only will this prevent distractions, but it’ll ensure that if you wake up in the middle of the night, the light won’t further wake you, and will, instead, lull you back to sleep.
Whether you choose to mediate or to journal, finding ways to relax and calm your mind and energy in the minutes or hours before you’re heading to bed can be key to building positive thoughts and eliminating stressful energies, no matter how overwhelming your entire day may have been.
6. Make a schedule and stick to it
Building a new routine means sticking to, well, a routine. That means going to bed and waking up at or around the same time every day. While some days might be busier than others, and might keep you out longer into the night, try to keep a common bedtime and wake-up time on a daily basis. This will keep your body’s internal clock on a somewhat consistent schedule so that when your normal bedtime rolls around, your body will be ready to head to bed.