Are you one of those people who toss and turn all night while the rest of the world slumbers? Or who wake up in the wee hours of the morning while everyone else is still fast asleep? If yes, you are not alone. Almost everyone has suffered from insomnia at one point or another. Insomnia can negatively impact our daily lives but fear not, here are six pre-bedtime rituals for better sleep.
- Avoid strenuous exercise. No vigorous exercise up to two hours before bedtime as this will decrease your ability to fall asleep. However, do try meditation and exercise such as yoga as they have a relaxing effect on the body, thus helping to prepare your body for sleep.
- Have a light snack before bed. Avoid rich, heavy food in the few hours before you go to bed. Instead, drink a glass of warm milk or eat a banana as these foods are rich in tryptophan, a natural, sleep-promoting amino acid.
- Stay away from caffeine and alcohol. It is common sense to avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea and other caffeinated drinks 4-6 hours before bedtime. While alcohol, though a depressant with immediate sleep-inducing effects, can cause you to wake up as the alcohol levels in your blood start to fall a few hours later.
- Turn off the TV and computer. If you commonly watch TV or surf the internet just before going to bed, stop. You’ll be doing yourself a big favour by minimizing the distractions which will stop you from falling and staying asleep.
- Read a book. A few minutes of reading before bedtime has been found to help shift the brainwaves to a slower pattern. This induces the body into a sleepy state, thus making falling asleep much easier.
- Listen to relaxing music. Soothing music or even self-hypnosis tapes can help calm down your thoughts, effectively de-stressing you and helping you drift off into a nice, peaceful sleep.