The science is clear rituals create behaviors that reduce stress. A study completed by the American Friends of Tel Aviv University discovered that this isn’t just true of humans, but of animals as well. A morning ritual can start your day on a positive note; an evening ritual is equally as important to your health and well being.
Put your cell phone down and turn the television off (forget even having a television in your bedroom!). While you don’t need to sit in complete silence, your brain needs time to switch off from its taxing day of information overload.
Flashing images, dramatic scenes, or violence, can overstimulate your brain, which will make it difficult to actually turn off to get to sleep. The same applies to using a computer, or smart phone, the backlit devices keep your brain active.
Consider classical music, or any other genre that you find soothing. You can experiment with music until you find the one that serves your purpose. Allowing yourself an hour of relaxation before bed is ideal; you can incorporate it into your stretching ritual.
You’ve probably read about starting your day with a glass of warm water with fresh lemon to kick start your system. Everyone knows to avoid highly caffeinated drinks like coffee and cola, have you heard about tart cherry juice to finish your day, though?
You are more likely to be familiar with melatonin, and it just so happens that tart cherries are high in it, so having a glass of tart cherry juice an hour before bed is a fantastic way to let your body know it’s time to unwind.
A glass of tart cherry juice will increase the amount of melatonin that is in your system and signals your brain that sleep time is impending. Don’t fight it, embrace it.
A study by the European Journal of Nutrition completed a study on a random group of participants, which showed the benefits to sleep after consuming cherry juice.
Most people start their day with some form of stretching, but having a light stretching session before bed is vital, too. It isn’t necessary to work up a sweat, you don’t want to stimulate your body and mind before bed, however you do want to get to sleep without aches and pains.
A few basic yoga postures will help your body relax, aligning your body and preventing you from waking up with stiff joints and aching muscles. Consider it a quick calibration for the body.
Take a look at your sleeping environment and consider what impediments could be preventing you from getting a decent night’s sleep.
Your room should be quiet, dark, and cool.
- Quiet – while you can’t control outside noise, you could employ the use of earplugs if you live in a loud area.
- Dark – using a blackout shade to keep your room devoid of light can massively improve your sleep.
- Cool – that doesn’t involve cranking up the air conditioning, but turning up the heat is equally as counterproductive. There is nothing more frustrating than waking up in the middle of the night sweating, or shivering. As you sleep, your body’s core temperature drops so it’s always wise to have an extra blanket at the foot of your bed just in case.
Ensure that your pillow, mattress, and bedding are comfortable for you. It can be tempting to let pets (and kids) sleep with you, but they tend to be quite disruptive to your sleep pattern, so buy Rover his own bed and limit sleepovers with your children to the result of nasty nightmares.