Preparing your body and mind for a restful night’s sleep is not something you want to leave to chance. Following the same nightly routine insures that you won’t forget any important steps, and gives you the best chance at a night of undisturbed slumber.
1. Drink Tart Cherry Juice
You’re already aware that there are some beverages best avoided at night, like coffee and colas that can keep you tossing and turning. But there are also some drinks that can have a relaxing effect on the body and get you to konk out more easily.
Tart cherry juice is a great way to unwind and signal to the body the day is over and it’s time for rest. Tart cherries are high in melatonin, the hormone that helps induce sleep, and getting into the habit of having a glass about an hour before you plan on going to bed works wonders. Herbal tea is another option that provides the same relaxation as regular tea but is caffeine free.
How It Helps: Tart cherry juice can help you get that sleepy feeling because it increases the amount of melatonin in your system. This sends signals to the brain that it’s time for sleep, and should bring on a case of the yawns. Don’t fight the sensation, let it carry you away into a good night’s sleep.
2. Get Into Something Comfy
You choice of sleepwear is essential, and making it a ritual can help you establish a “getting ready for bed” routine that will help you shut down more easily and get more restful sleep. Wearing something different every night or not putting any thought into what you’re wearing is one way to leave it to chance and get varied results.
Experiment with different options depending on your personal preference and the time of year. In the summer you might like to wear cotton pajamas that are loose and breathable, or perhaps nothing at all. In the winter you might find that pair of flannel pajamas makes you feel warm and cozy.
How It Helps: Choosing pajamas and sleepwear that is comfortable and doesn’t constrict you will help you feel better and in turn sleep better throughout the night. Getting into these clothes is also a way to trigger sleep hormones and start to make a habit out of going to bed.
3. Do Some Light Stretching
The nighttime isn’t the right time for extreme exercise, but you can do some light stretching so that you’ll be able to fall asleep faster with fewer aches and pains. Rarely do we prepare ourselves for a night of rest, but it is a good idea to stretch muscle and tendons before an 8 hour block of non-use.
A basic yoga routine is perfect at this time, and you can simply hold a few poses until you feel your body relax. You definitely don’t want to exert yourself or work up a sweat. Take it easy and use this time to clear your mind and meditate one what a great day you had. Run the day’s highlights through your mind so that you can have some positive momentum before you get in bed.
How It Helps: Stretching helps get the body in alignment and can prevent you from waking up with stiff muscles and joints. No matter your lifestyle, whether you spend your days sitting in an office setting or moving around a lot, stretching helps to calibrate the body and get it ready for sleep, and gets things off to a better start in the morning.
4. Set the Right Temperature
Getting the temperature right is one of the most important things you can do to improve your sleep. Waking up in the middle of the night because it’s either too hot or too cold is a sure way to disrupt your sleeping cycle and make you feel groggy the next day.
Keep in mind that your core body temperature will drop as you sleep, so even though you may be warm now you’ll probably get cooler during the night. Keep an extra blanket nearby so you can easily warm yourself up without having to get out of bed. Consider changing your bedding to suit the season, with thicker, warmer sheets in the winter and cooler, lighter sheets in the summer.
How It Helps: Keeping your sleeping quarters in the comfort zone for sleep is essential, and you’ll wake more refreshed in the morning if you make sure the temperature is right before you hit the hay. Contrarily you could be up several times throughout the night adjust the temperature and your bedding due to lack of planning.
5. Floss Your Teeth
This is a sticking point for most, but once you make it a ritual you just won’t feel right unless you do it. Plus you’ll get your dentist off your back and they won’t have to remind you to floss next time, they’ll be able to see that you do.
Try out different flosses and flossing gadgets until you find one that suits you. There are floss picks that give you a plastic handle to hang onto if you don’t like using ordinary floss. There are also different flosses, some thick and others thinner to get between teeth that are a bit crowded.
How It Helps: Flossing gives you a satisfying clean feeling and is one of the best things you can do for your oral hygiene. It’s a reassuring feeling knowing that you’ve done all you can for the health of your teeth and gums, and as this becomes a habit you’ll see the difference in your smile.
6. Scrape Your Tongue
After you floss and brush your teeth, scrape your tongue with a tongue scraper. This will give you mouth a very clean feeling and can even help you wake up with less harsh morning breath.
There are special tongue scrapers that you can buy that do a much better job than simply brushing your tongue with your toothbrush.
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