Trouble sleeping? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Approximately 1/3rd of adults in the US get less sleep than they should.
Poor sleep can have an array of health consequences, most of which you might be concerned about while lying awake. If you find it difficult to get restful sleep regularly, explore your pre-bedtime habits to detect problematic issues and develop a new routine that encourages better sleep.
As a leading provider of night guards for TMJ disorder, we offer a complete checklist of healthy bedtime habits to practice before bed:
Read a paper book
Reading a book can help calm your mind. You can try to read for ten to fifteen minutes in bed. These minutes can quiet the thoughts about the leftover tasks on your to-do list and make falling asleep that much faster. Sometimes, you wouldn’t be able to cross two pages.
Try a white noise machine
A white noise machine can help you tune out all the noise in your head at night and actually fall asleep. For what it’s worth, a fan may also offer some soothing white noise and give you the added bonus of keeping the room cool.
Take a hot shower
Take a warm, steaming bath before bed every night.
A warm shower or bath isn’t just relaxing; it also helps you prepare biologically for sleep. When our bedtime approaches, our body temperature starts to drop naturally. If our bodies want to cool down, but the temperature in the room is too hot, it can interfere with this natural process. Taking a warm shower or bath will help facilitate that body temperature fall. A warm bath an hour before bed can help you dissipate heat via the skin. The temperature gradient leads to heat loss through the core, ultimately cooling down the core temperature. Just ensure you at least have an hour between bath time and bedtime. If your body doesn’t get a chance to dissipate the heat, your core temperature will be too high, making it uncomfortable for you to sleep.
Dim the lights
While avoiding your computer or tablet for a full four hours before bed might not sound realistic, you can at least reduce overhead lighting. If it’s dim or dark outside, you should also dim the lights inside your home. Start dimming the lights inside your home once you’re done with dinner. You may also opt for table lamps to reduce overhead light. Doing this will make it easier for your body to understand that it’s dark out and that bedtime is just around the corner.
Ditch electronics a couple of hours before bed
Light exposure, especially from backlit electronic screens, within four hours before natural sleep onset can move your internal clock later, making it harder for you to fall asleep. While cutting yourself off four hours before bed is quite challenging, aim for at least two hours if possible. We recommend close-range, large backlit LED screens such as computers, laptops, and tablets, have a hard stop within a couple of hours before bed.
TV isn’t as detrimental since it isn’t at such close range. However, this doesn’t mean that you should watch TV in bed. You must associate bed with sleep and not with watching TV. Still, from a light standpoint, TV doesn’t seem as bad. But if you fall asleep with the TV on, it may negatively affect your sleep.
Eat dinner early, especially if you’re prone to heartburn
Acid reflux is another likely cause of sleep disruption. This happens when stomach acid gets into your esophagus, causing symptoms such as chest pain and heartburn, which isn’t ideal for good sleep.
If you’re dealing with something like this, don’t go to bed with a full belly. End your last meal two hours before bedtime to greatly reduce the likelihood of reflux interfering with your sleep. Even without acid reflux, eating may also lead to upset stomach and indigestion, based on what you eat, how quickly, and how much. So, try to finish eating a full meal a couple of hours before bedtime.
Listen to a bedtime story
Do you know about sleep story podcasts? They’re the best. Numerous apps have actual bedtime stories you can listen to. You can climb into bed and turn on a sleep story podcast. They prevent your mind from racing by grounding you in a particular time or place, whether that’s a dreamy trip to Norway or a cozy lake house.
Jot down to-dos and other thoughts that may keep you up at night
Some people go to bed ready to pass out after a long, tiring day. However, the moment their head hits the pillow, they start thinking of every outstanding item on their to-do list. People with insomnia find their mind racing, thinking everything from their dreams and hopes for the future to solve a problem at work. Both positive and negative musings can keep your mind overactive, preventing you from dozing off.
So, keep a journal next to your bed and write these points down when they pop into your head. Whether it’s a reflection on something that happened during the day or a simple to-do list, doing this practice will help you get things out of your head, which can make a world of difference.
Try meditation, especially if you haven’t already
Meditation can help you fall asleep more quickly and sleep better. You should practice meditation daily and use it as part of your wind-down routine to help calm your mind. You can also use it as a tool if you wake up in the middle of the night and want to fall back asleep. While a guided meditation app is awesome, practicing enough to be able to do it on your own is a brilliant idea as well, especially during times you may need it in a pinch.
Set your alarm for the same time every night
Even if you don’t set your alarm for the next day right before bed, this is arguably the most essential habit of all if you want to fall asleep quicker at night. Sleep starts in the morning. Getting light first thing and getting up at the same time every day will align the body clock to a 24-hour day. A stable wake time makes your fall-asleep time more stable. Consistency is paramount.
There’s no such thing as catching up on sleep. If you can resist the temptation to sleep in on the weekends and be consistent in your wake time, you’ll be thanking yourself when you fall asleep at night without much difficulty.
Wear a clear custom night guard from Clear Comfort Night Guards
At Clear Comfort Night Guards, we offer dentist-recommended night teeth guards to help with teeth grinding and related issues like tooth damage, TMJ relief, and headaches. You can purchase our mouth guard for teeth grinding through a simple process. Purchasing our night guards is simple. We aim to ensure that each of our custom made nightguards is a comfortable fit for our customers. Visit our website for more information!