We’ve said it before, establishing a bedtime is always an essential for a good night’s sleep. It’s really not just for young children, but adults may benefit greatly from a regular bedtime as well. It can easily improve your health, make your skin better, give you more energy, help you lose weight, and even boost your memory. Of course, it can also fight sleep deprivation and all of its ugly consequences, making a sticking to a bedtime one of the most important habits you should have.
However, some may argue that establishing that bedtime can be quite difficult. This is generally true, especially if you’re not too fond of routine and are always coming up with something to do with your time in the evenings. There’s a way to get you in the right track, though: get to know how your evening activities can affect your sleep.
According to experts, the things you do before you hit the hay at night can easily affect your slumber. For example, you like to have some coffee in the evening, then it’s very likely that you’ll have to endure wakefulness until the caffeine wears off well into the night. As you would know, substances and activities have great effects on the human body, so choosing which ones to avoid in the evening would be helpful to your sleep.
Check out this infographic from the Huffington Post:
Coffee: 6 Hours Before Bed
In this infographic, various activities are drawn in a timeline, noting how far apart certain items should be from you going to bed. First in the timeline is drinking coffee, or any beverages with high caffeine content. Caffeine, being a stimulant, can really disrupt one’s sleep and even hamper the person’s ability to enjoy quality slumber. In a study conducted by researchers from the Michigan’s Henry Ford Hospital’s Sleep Disorders & Research Center and Wayne State College of Medicine, they were even able to discover that caffeine consumed in less than six hours before bed can be detrimental to one’s sleep. This is why they suggest that anyone who’s interested in having a good night’s rest should avoid drinking coffee at least six hours before they turn in.
Alcohol: 3 Hours Before Bed
If you’re more inclined to have a glass of wine or whisky as a night cap, make sure to do so at least three hours before lights out. Why? This is because while most folks can argue that drinking can make them drowsy, therefore making them sleepy right away, having an alcoholic drink before bed is still sleep- disruptive. In a study conducted at the University of Melbourne, their research shows that consuming alcoholic beverages right before bed will resort to the interference of the alcohol to deep sleep, preventing your brain from executing full restoration which is important for a good night’s rest. Articles from TIME magazine and the Huffington Post discuss the study more closely, so you can also head there for more information.
However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t drink at all in the evening. What experts suggest is to have it at least three hours before you try to sleep, so the effects can wear off, and you can give yourself a better chance at having a good night’s sleep.
Dinner: 2-3 Hours Before Bed
To quote Chef Cheryl Forberg, RD, “The time that you eat dinner is not as important as how close it is to your bedtime. If you’re eating dinner too close to your bedtime, you may experience reflux (heartburn), not sleep as well as you otherwise might, or skip breakfast the next morning (this is quite a common pitfall).” These are just some of the few things you’ll experience if you sleep immediately after you’ve consumed dinner, not to mention its effects on your sleep. Big meals typically affect a person’s metabolic rate and will increase body temperature, making it difficult to fall asleep.
Experts say that 2-3 hours before bed is the best time for a meal, as it will allow your body to digest the food without making you hungry before you nod off. Hunger pangs are something you should also definitely avoid if you want a good night’s sleep, as the discomfort will definitely keep you up all night.
Of course, what you eat before you hit the sack is also important to look at if you want quality sleep (and prevent weight gain). According to this article, it’s okay to have a light snack presleep, but you have to reach out for complex carbohydrates instead of junk food to ensure quality slumber and avoid packing some pounds.
Exercising: 2 Hours Before Bed
There’s no doubt that breaking a sweat from a good workout is good for the body. It gets you in great shape and a number of studies even show that it can also have great effects on sleep, although, as to exactly how and why, scientists are still about to pinpoint it out. In most people, they like to exercise so they can tire themselves out before they go to bed. This offers an easier way for them to doze off, using exhaustion as a lullaby.
However, according to sleep medicine professor, Dr. Stuart Quan of Harvard Medical School, working out so close to your bedtime may have the opposite effect on some people. While others find it easy to wear themselves out after an hour of rigorous exercise, others may feel effect of having high levels of adrenaline, making it difficult to wind down. This can impact sleep negatively as you’ll need your body to calm down in order to fall asleep.
To ensure a good night’s sleep, some sleep experts suggest giving yourself some time to cool down after a nighttime workout. Schedule your training to finish at least two hours before you sleep, so you get the chance to ensure the great quality of your slumber.
Working, Studying & Stressing + Fiddling with Electronics: 1 Hour Before Bed
Photo by Annie Leibovitz, via
Many of us try to do more by squeezing in a last task for work or finishing a paper for school before hitting the hay. In most cases, though, it’s not the most efficient thing to do, as you either do not finish what you started doing, or you end up sleeping way later than your target bedtime. Both situations can easily cause you to toss and turn in your bed while you lie sleepless, fidgeting about how you have to finish that task you left hanging or how you have to be up so early the next morning.
Stressing out is another cause of sleeplessness among a huge chunk of the population. The thing here, though, is that there are so much reasons for getting stressed, that avoiding it entirely can be very difficult. In the end, it can cause you a great forty winks, because you can’t stop thinking about an issue you can’t possibly handle right then and there while you’re lying down on your bed.
With the rise of the electronics in the recent years, recent studies now show how these screens can affect sleep. According to the several sources, the blue light electronics emit easily affects people’s wakefulness, so having backlit screens glaring so close to your face at night could certainly have a negative effect.
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t do all of these before bed, though, but like the other items in this list, we suggest you do them a few hours before you try to nod off. At least give yourself an hour of winding down after you work, study, stress yourself out, or use your electronics, allowing you to become calmer and more ready for slumber.
Follow this timeline and you’ll get a good start at creating a bedtime routine that will help you improve your sleep. Of course, you also shouldn’t forget about your comfort, as it may be your mattress that’s causing you some sleepless nights. At Salem Beds, we make sure that we only offer the best surfaces for sleep, so you can guarantee some quality shut-eye.