Just as mother nature slowly winds down the day with the sun gently setting on the horizon, the human body must slowly wind down the body for sleep.
Our body and souls are divided into two dimensions or environments, the inside and the outside. A balance has to be brought in between the two environments in order to achieve a perfect sleep balance.
Gear Down, Slow Down, and Lay Down
There are several things you should do to prepare for sleep but first you must have the intention to sleep.
Your evening activities before sleep should be quiet and peaceful. This is not the time to watch dramatic or traumatic movies or tv shows. You should find things that are relaxing to your mind to do such as reading, meditation, or enjoying the evening air by relaxing outside. The noise level in the house should be minimal. Keep the TV volume down. You should also use this time to quietly prepare your children for bed as well. Avoid bright lights and this includes the blue light of an electronic device such as your phone. These types of lights stimulate the brain into a more wakeful state. Wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t constrict your movement. Keep the temperature in the house comfortable, not too hot or too cold.
The foods you consume before sleeping should be foods that the body easily processes. Do not consume foods that create too much “heat” at bedtime, such as peppers, spices such as cumin or coriander, tomatoes, coffee or energy drinks, oily foods or red meat. Avoid foods that are high in calories and fat as those foods are not easily digested.
Avoid medications at bedtime that will keep you awake. Take only those medications that are required by your doctor to be taken at bedtime. For example, this is probably not the best time to take your vitamins.
Establish a bedtime routine. Prepare for sleep in the same manner every night so that your body will get clues that it is time to sleep. Your routine can begin at anytime in the evening but at least a hour before sleep.
When you go to bed, take a glass of water with you so that you do not have to turn on lights and walk through the house to get a drink in the middle of the night. If you are the type of person who gets hungry in the middle of the night, take a small snack as well. By not turning on the lights and walking through the house at night, you can more easily fall back to sleep. Avoid any over stimulation during the sleeping hours. If you must get up at night, avoid turning on all the lights. Just turn on enough light to safely walk to your destination and return to the bed.
Establish a regular bedtime and waketime. Most adults need a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night. Talk to your doctor about the recommended number of hours needed for you to sleep and adjust your bedtime so that you can obtain your recommended number of hours of sleep.
And the old saying of “Don’t go to bed mad” still applies. Not only is it good marital advice, it is good advice for sleep as well.