Insomnia leaves too many of us feeling exhausted, wandering around with awful bags under our eyes. But it doesn’t have to. By making small changes to our daily habits, most of us can let our bodies know that it is OK to ease into a more restful state after a hard day’s work. These five tips for getting your beauty sleep will teach you simple ways to give your body the message that sleep is what it needs in order to get through the next day.
What’s a great way to trick your body’s biological clock into thinking it’s the middle of the day? Try staring into a brightly lit screen right before bedtime. The light that emanates from computers, televisions and tablets interferes with your body’s circadian rhythms. The intellectual and physiological stimulation from activities like playing video games or watching suspenseful shows can also keep you up late, for obvious reasons.
Caffeine affects the body more profoundly than most coffee-drinkers believe. It also stays in your system longer than you consciously feel its effects. In fact, caffeine typically affects men for five to nine hours. In women who are pregnant or who use oral contraceptives, the effects can be extended to 12 or even 15 hours. If you have trouble sleeping, it is a good rule not to consume any coffee during the last third or so of the day. If your sleep still does not improve, try completely eliminating caffeine from your diet.
People who lead sedentary lives often find themselves feeling restless at the end of the day. People who physically exert themselves have this problem much less often, unless they’re doing something else that directly interferes with sleep (like drinking too much caffeine). If you put in a good a workout during the day, you’re likely to feel far more tired at night. After a couple of weeks of exercise, you will also notice that you feel more rested in the morning — making it easier to wake up with that cup of coffee!
Easing into the evening’s end with a little light reading is an excellent way to let your body “power down,” especially if you’re looking for an activity to replace your nightly pre-bedtime web browsing. Allow your body (and especially your eyes) to relax while stimulating your mind, and you will soon feel your lids begin to droop.
This works a lot better for some than others, but it’s definitely worth a try. Listening to soft, relaxing music or ambient noise does wonders for some people. My personal favorite thing to fall asleep to is Brian Eno’s little-known 1978 album, “Music for Airports,” a set of four exceedingly long and slow-moving synthesizer compositions that lull me to sleep wonderfully. The White Noise app also is an option.