We’ve all spent the night tossing and turning. Some of us turn to music, TV, or Facebook in the hopes of falling asleep, but this might actually be the problem. Here are six tips for a more restful sleep.
1. You are what you eat. What we eat before we hit the sheets has a lot to do with how quickly we doze off. Avoid foods high in caffeine, like coffee, green tea, and chocolate, as well as those high in tyramine, like ham, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, red wine, peppers, smoked meats, and fish. Look for foods in the dairy family like cheese and milk, soy products, lentils, hummus, hazelnuts, eggs, peanuts, and sesame and sunflower seeds. Try and eat a dinner low in protein but high in carbohydrates, which allow us to form melatonin and serotonin, our body’s magical sleeping agents.
2. Let there be (no) light. Light, artificial or natural, largely affects whether we can sleep. Light influences the timing of our body’s internal clock, thus affecting our preferred time to doze off. Close the curtains and try to use softer light late at night.
3. Relax. Like so many things in our life, stress also affects our sleep. Try practicing relaxation techniques, take a yoga class, or jump in a hot shower.
4. Exercise is essential. Exercise helps alleviate stress and anxiety, relaxing you at night, and also tires you out. Try to exercise in the afternoon to keep you going, but not at night. The adrenaline and endorphins will keep you up all night.
5. Keep a routine. Your body likes a routine, and the more you stick to one, the more likely you are to fall asleep at the same time. Although routines are tough to maintain as a college student with late-night studying, try to find a balance. Avoid naps for a more consistent sleeping schedule.
6. Eliminate electronics. Yes, that means the TV, the computer, your phone, and your iPod. All of these devices stimulate the brain and actually make you more awake. Read a book instead, which relaxes the brain and induces sleep.
By Aisling Williams