10. Gradually Power Down Your Mind
If you find yourself lying in bed with your thoughts racing, consider consciously transitioning from being active to quieting your mind for rest. The Sleep Doctor, Dr. Michael Breus, recommends using three transition periods in the hour before sleep. Breus recommends utilizing the first 20 minutes for doing tasks that must be done before the morning, such as packing lunches or laying out clothing. Then, the second 20-minute period should be spent on hygiene, such as bathing and brushing your teeth. Finally, the last 20 minutes should be spent on a relaxing activity such as meditation, prayer, or relaxation exercises.
9. Avoid Caffeine
To prepare your body for sleep, avoid caffeinated foods and beverages in the four to six hours before bedtime. If you find it challenging to give up a late afternoon cup of coffee, try sipping on another warm beverage instead. Chicory coffee, made from the roots of the chicory plant, has a robust, woody flavor without the caffeine. You may also want to try substituting hot lemon water, decaffeinated herbal teas, or hot apple cider for a late afternoon cup of joe. Enjoying a refreshing glass of water and spritz of lemon juice can also invigorate you in the afternoon without caffeine.
8. Limit Alcohol
It may feel like a glass of wine or cocktail relaxes you, but drinking alcohol before bedtime can actually disrupt your sleep cycle. Alcoholic beverages can prevent you from obtaining the maximum benefit of restorative REM sleep. While you may not have trouble falling asleep, you may suffer from fatigue, grogginess, or poor concentration the following day. Refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages within two to three hours of bedtime. Instead, choose refreshing beverages like lemon water or soothing beverages like warm milk and honey as the evening hours approach.