Did you know that your daytime habits can help you get better sleep at night? That’s right! What you do during the day makes all the difference both in how quickly you fall asleep and how restful your night is. Let’s explore some of the things you can do during daylight hours to try to maximize your chances of a good night’s sleep.
When you have a regular routine of moderate to vigorous exercise, your body uses more energy and you have better blood circulation. This kind of activity literally “wears you out” so that sleep comes much easier. It promotes natural exhaustion levels that allow your body to get tired enough that sleep is the logical conclusion. The type of exercise you should do depends on your specific needs, but could include both cardiovascular workouts and weight-training exercises. Having a good blend of these types of activities gives your body both increased oxygen and strength.
Try to set up at least a semi-regular schedule of exercise at least 3 or 4 times per week in order to maximize the effects. The more you exercise (without overdoing it!) the better off you will be and your body will come to appreciate the moments of relaxation that it gets as you lay down night. Keep in mind, however, that evening is not the best time for strenuous exercise, as it could have the opposite effect of energizing you. Rather, make this a habit for an earlier time in your day.
This activity brings the perfect blend of fresh air, sunshine, exercise, and feeling at one with the earth. When you spend a portion of your day with your hands in the dirt, it brings a special kind of satisfaction, while channeling your energy into a positive motion. Working with plants has a calming effect, as well as having the side of effect of lifting your mood.
All these factors together bring you a sense of accomplishment and productivity that directly translates to restful sleep at the end of the day. Because gardening is often an outlet for tension, it allows you time to work through any stress, leaving you much more ready to enjoy a better night. Plus, of course, it also can make you physically tired, while keeping you from being emotionally drained.
Getting into the routine of meditating before going to bed is probably one of the very best daytime habits for better sleep at night. When you meditate, your mind is drawn away from the cares of the world and the troubles of your life. It is the perfect transition from all of the hustle and bustle of handling work, school, social interaction, and household duties to preparing for the quietness of sleep. Using this technique to change your focus from outward to inward will help you find the balance you need to shift between day and night.
If for some reason you cannot meditate in the evening before bed, don’t think that it is useless to slip in this activity at another time in your day. Whether you carve out meditation time in the morning, afternoon, or evening, it is always worth your time and effort to give your mind and body this break. Either way, the effects on your sleep cycle will still be abundant and you will appreciate the boost to your restful state.
4. Bedtime Reading
You’ve probably heard how harmful it is to use electronic screens in the vicinity of your bedtime schedule, as the blue light emitted reduces your natural melatonin production. However, one of the best things you can do for your nighttime ritual is to break out an old-fashioned book for an evening reading.
So put away your Kindle or tablet, turn off your phone, and close down the computer. Find a story on your bookshelf that will transport you into another world and let your body find a special type of relaxation that will let your eyes naturally get droopy.
5. Eating Schedules
Not everyone realizes their food habits can affect their sleep, but there is a very close association. One of the most obvious tips is to limit your caffeine intake, especially in the latter portions of the day. Keep your coffee to a minimum and only in the morning hours. Partake of your tea and chocolate long before bedtime. The one exception to that is herbal tea, which can actually induce restful sleep, especially varieties that are relaxing, such as chamomile, valerian, or lemon balm.
Schedule your dinner or supper early enough so that you are not eating late and going to bed with an overfull stomach. But on the flip side of that, don’t put such a gap that you are practically starving by the bedtime rolls around. You need a good balance in this arena. If you find that you are somewhat hungry at bedtime, don’t try to go sleep on an empty stomach. You will likely just be too miserable to sleep well. In that case, eat a small, healthy snack that will allow your appetite to bed down for the night. Even a glass of warm milk or other hot drink may do the trick, but don’t hesitate to eat that “midnight snack” if necessary.
So, there you have it…5 simple daytime habits that you can try to sleep better at night. Can you think of any more? If so, please feel free to drop them in the comment section below. We would love to hear your suggestions, too!
Melanie is mom to five energetic kids, including a sweet little toddler. She enjoys homeschooling her children from a peaceful parenting perspective and traveling with her family whenever she can.