Staying up late comes natural to most of us. For many of us, shift work is part of our lives. I often work up to ten o’clock at night and then come home to a late dinner. Others may stay up due to sick kids or a mind that will not settle down due to constant worries. We all have our reasons, but we all need our sleep to live a healthy life. And, there are changes we can make to get that quality sleep that are so obvious.
How many of you use your electronic devices in bed? I am talking about cell phones, computers, and tablets and so on here. I am guilty of this almost every night, but we all need to stop. Right now, put it away. The artificial light that comes off these devices can make us stay up later. It makes us more alert in the later hours and messes up our sleep cycles. How do you change this? Instead of reading your e-reader, read a paperback book. Instead of playing that addictive game on your phone or tablet, pull out that neglected crossword book that sits on your nightstand.
Likewise, try to cut your caffeine intake after around 2 o’clock. This is going to be a tough one. The earlier you stop drinking it, however, the more likely you will get to bed at a decent hour. If you are looking for that energy rush, try drinking orange juice or another beverage. These have a bit of acidy taste, but they have not been found to keep you up much later than usual.
In addition, you might find it helpful to exercise during the day. It could be something as simple as walking. Try to exercise at least thirty minutes or least long enough to break a sweat. This way, your heart rate increases and you burn calories. Using up that energy is beneficial to not only your health, but also it is going to lead to excellent sleep that night.
As it gets later in the day, try not to take naps. When you first stop drinking caffeine, this may prove difficult not to do. You may regret it later at night, however, when you are laying awake and counting sheep. Instead of napping, get up and stretch. Move around the house and keep yourself busy. You will soon forget how tired you are and the day will move by much faster.
In addition, stretch out your whole body in the bed. It is best to take deep breaths and think of thoughts that are soothing and relaxing. If your mind is racing or your body is tense, try to clear your mind and loosen up your muscles. Do not let worries follow you to bed because they will follow you into your dreams and we all know that is not any fun. Make sure you are comfortable with your blankets and pillows, and then turn the lights out. Let your mind rest and let yourself get a peaceful sleep.
We all stay up late. For some, it just comes second nature but it is an unhealthy habit that needs to be kicked to the curb. Put away those electronic devices early and replace them with knitting or another hobby. You’re going to find that your body will wake up naturally after awhile. Those dark circles under your eyes will slowly fade away. You may even drop a few pounds due to this healthy change in your life, which is always a great change. So stop reading this and go get some sleep!