7 Bedtime Behaviors That Will Help You Sleep
How to sleep better
No one likes to toss and turn all night, or even worse, struggle with outright insomnia.
There are things you can do to help get a better night's rest. A consistent wind-down routine every day can help you fall asleep more quickly and reliably.
Try any or all of the following relaxing behaviors just before bedtime to ensure a more restful night.
Take a hot bath
Two hours before bed, soak in the tub for 20 or 30 minutes, recommends Joyce Walsleben, PhD, associate professor at New York University School of Medicine. "If you raise your temperature a degree or two with a bath, the steeper drop at bedtime is more likely to put you in a deep sleep," she says. A shower is less effective but can work, as well.
Install a dimmer switch
Lay out your clothes
"We suggest that people establish regular nightly routines before they get into bed, to help their brain shift into sleep mode," says Gary Zammit, PhD, director of the Sleep Disorders Institute in New York. "Laying out your pajamas, brushing your hair or your teeththese habits can be very sleep-conducive."
Shun p.m. stimulants
Even decaf drinkers should beware: A 2007 Consumer Reports study found that even decaffeinated coffees sold at several chain restaurants contained caffeine, with one from a big chain having 32 milligrams of caffeine per cupabout the same amount as in 12 ounces of cola.
Nicotine is also a stimulant; smoking to relax before bed can actually do the opposite, revving up your heart rate and keeping your brain alert, says Walsleben.
Shut down electronics
"Before your targeted bedtime, begin slowing down your brain by doing something calming, like reading in a comfy chairsomewhere other than bed," she says. "Stop watching TV and checking email."
Wear socks to bed
Limit evening food and drinks
If you drink a lot of any liquid before bed, for that matter, you may be up throughout the night using the bathroom. "Most adults middle-age and older have to get up at night for this reason," says William C. Dement, MD, professor of psychiatry at Stanford University and author of The Promise of Sleep, "but restricting fluids before bed can help."