by Jessica Petrucci
Developing a nightly routine can be beneficial in many ways. I personally struggle with going to bed at a reasonable hour. Just when I am ready to lie down, I remember all of the things I still have to get done in the morning. To maximize my daily focus and function, I have adopted some new habits, based on scientific recommendations and personal preference, before bed.
1. Get a full eight hours.
Our body needs rest on a cellular level to restore and regenerate. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep can improve your mood, gastrointestinal function, and overall health.
2. Be consistent.
Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day can improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia and sleep deprivation. Getting good quality sleep can even help with your immune system function and cognitive acuity.
3. Read a book.
Recently, I have adopted this as an alternative to mindlessly scrolling Instagram before bed. Ixcela recommends avoiding screen time two hours before bed. Screen time causes your brain activity to increase, which isn’t conducive to falling asleep. Reading helps distract you from daily stresses, allows your muscles to relax, and slows your breathing, which will leave you feeling calmer.
4. Have a cup of tea.
Drinking a warm beverage before bed can be calming and comforting. Make sure your tea is caffeine-free. Consuming caffeine after noon can negatively impact sleep quality.
5. Take a bath.
Taking a warm bath can be comforting and ease both mental and physical tension. Bathing in relaxing scents (such as lavender) can help lull you to sleep. Also, going to bed post-bath helps keep your sheets fresh.
6. Have a light snack.
Although you want to avoid eating a heavy meal before bed, including foods that contain tryptophan may help the body initiate sleep when it’s time for bed. Tryptophan is an amino acid found in the diet that is used by the body to produce serotonin and melatonin. Melatonin is important for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Try a variety of plant- and animal-based foods like turkey, eggs, fish, spinach, and nuts and seeds. Bananas are also a good choice because they contain magnesium and potassium, which can help relax muscles, as well as tryptophan.
7. Make a list.
If your mind is still running wild after your book, tea, and bath, try making a list. It might be your to-do list, the things that are worrying you, or just a list of your thoughts. Putting these items down on paper can help get them off your mind and allow you to relax.
I hope these tips help you like they have helped me. If you or a loved one struggles with sleep and wants to find out more about how metabolites, such as serotonin and tryptophan, affect our ability to rest, read more here.
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Jessica Petrucci has a background in biotechnology and is a certified yoga instructor. As a collegiate athlete, fitness has always been an important part of Jessica’s life. She takes a holistic approach to health, encompassing mind, body, and spirit. Coming from a place of personal experience, Jessica has seen how lifestyle and stress can take a toll on gut health and overall wellness. She strives to help others realize that, by living a well-balanced lifestyle, they can be the best and healthiest versions of themselves.
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