Picture this: It’s 6:00 PM and you’re on your way home from work. You’re tired, hungry, and stuck in terrible rush hour traffic. You start to get impatient and frustrated which, at this point in your life, is are regular part of your day.
You get home an hour later and your family is clamoring for your attention. You eat something convenient and easy (and probably unhealthy), fall into the couch, and switch on the tv to help you unwind, maybe you get on your phone and check up on the news and your social media. Before you know it, it’s midnight, and you realize you’ve been putting off going to bed. You know that the second you close your eyes, it’ll be time to start your day over again.
So what do you do?
1: Cut out electronics at least an hour before bed. The lights on our phones, computers, and televisions stimulate our brains and keep us awake. Even if you finish using these things before you’re actually in bed, your mind will be active and racing instead of shifting into relaxation mode. Using night mode may make a small difference, but not much.
2: Get a notebook and take five minutes right before laying down to free write. You want to get every thought from the past, present, and future out of your head and onto paper where it’s safe and secure. This will free the clutter from your head and allow you to rest easier.
3: Get a gradual alarm clock that will wake you up in stages with classical music, nature sounds, or something else relaxing. This will do absolute wonders for your morning routine. Using the same harsh alarm you’ve been hearing for years causes anxiety and disrupted sleep- you’ll sleep badly simply because you know it’s coming. Set your alarm to go off 15-20 minutes earlier than you usually actually have to get up. It will start out quietly and slowly bring you out of your sleep.
4: Add a few healthy snacks to your daily routine like granola bars, fresh fruit and vegetables, or nuts. They taste good, they’re good for you, and they take no prep-time. When you’re hungry at work or on the way home, munch on these. Eating poorly really does affect how you sleep; whether the food is sugary, over-caffeinated, high in preservatives (fake food), or just something your body doesn’t respond well to, your body will be focusing on trying to deal with what you’ve eaten rather than relaxing.