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We've all been there: tired beyond belief but totally unable to sleep through the night. Restless sleep plagues us all at some point-- but did you know that there are actually steps you can take to improve your sleep quality and minimize restless nights? We've included some of the best tips for creating optimal sleeping conditions down below.
Minimize hard exercise right before bed to help promote more restful sleep. If you have the option, it's best to wrap up intense exercise several hours before bedtime. Your adrenaline and hormones don't need to be going crazy right before you try to sleep. Some gentle exercising (like stretching or yoga) can actually be very beneficial right before bed-- just avoid anything too intensive.
Don't use screens right before bed, either. You should try to stay away from screens for an hour or two before you head off to sleep. It's good for our eyes and our brains to take a break from bright screens before we go to bed. If you need to use screens closer to when it's time to sleep, consider using a red light filter to help minimize the bright blue light that hits your eyes.
The optimal temperature for sleep is somewhere between 62 and 67 degrees. We sleep better in cool environments with decent airflow; so if you can cool your bedroom off before you start getting ready for bed, it could make a big difference in your level of restfulness.
Don't chow down on a heavy meal or spicy food immediately before bed
We all have to eat dinner at some point-- but your experience with sleep is probably going to be better if you push dinner earlier rather than later. Spicy and heavy meals can keep you up when all you want is a little shuteye.
Avoid caffeine and energy drinks in the afternoon and evening
It makes sense to avoid an energy drink right before bed, but you should actually minimize your caffeine consumption earlier in the day with you want to maximize your sleep. We recommend passing on coffee, energy drinks, and other similar beverages after one or two in the afternoon. There's no reason to set yourself up for sleeplessness-- and especially not so early!
The optimal sleeping environment isn't just cool-- it's also dark. You can use blackout curtains to help really keep light at bay. Consider small lights in your bedroom that may be left on at night (like those on AC units or computers) and see if you can cover those up too. The darker your room, the better your sleep will be.
This one is pretty specific, but we've included it for a good reason! Some research suggests that wearing wool socks to bed causes blood vessel dilation. This dilation helps warm the skin, but actually lowers the body's overall temperature. We sleep better with lower core temperatures (remember our advice to keep the room cool?), so this is a neat little hack to stay warm while you minimize your temperature and settle in for bed.
Our bodies operate based on a circadian rhythm-- that means that they perform certain functions based on the time of day. Our circadian rhythms follow a more natural flow when we're in natural environments; so, if you want to sleep better, try being awake better too! Let in lots of bright light during the mornings and stay active during the day to queue your body for sleep at night.
Mdrive is the everyday supplement for driven men. Our blog, jointhedriven.com, is an additional resource that our customers can use to help better themselves physically and mentally.
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