We’ve all been there. You come home from a long and grueling day and all you want to do is hit the pillow and sleep it off. But once you get into bed, you’re wide awake. You may find that your diet or certain activities throughout the day make it harder to unwind and fall asleep, but it’s time to draw line on sleepless nights! Let’s identify some of the culprits that prevent you from falling asleep and discover some tools to fight occasional insomnia so you can wake up feeling refreshed and renewed.
If you haven’t heard about blue light before, it pays to know. Screens from various electronic devices and some energy-efficient lightbulbs commonly emit blue light wavelengths from the light they produce. Blue light can be helpful during the day by boosting attention, reaction times, and mood. However, blue light in the evening can hinder you in your quest for sleep. Blue light affects your circadian rhythm which can leave you lying awake in bed. Here’s what you can do:
The Old Fashioned Way
Very simply, you can limit your usage of electronic devices before bedtime. An hour or so before bed, step away from the screens and save yourself from nighttime blue light exposure.
Apps and Programs
Limiting electronic usage in the modern day can be difficult. That’s where apps and programs come in. Many cell phones have a “Night Shift” or “Night Mode” feature that will automatically reduce and adjust blue light with the sun’s light pattern. This feature is incredibly convenient because you don’t have to think about it. Your phone will automatically adjust the proper amount of blue light as the sun rises and falls.
For Macs, a program called f.lux adjusts blue light levels based on sunset and sunrise times in your location. It also has some other cool features like adjusting the screen to match the room’s indoor lighting. Best of all, the only thing you have to do is set f.lux once and it does the rest.
Blue Light Glasses
If you absolutely need to be on an electronic device before bed, try blue light eyeglasses from Felix Gray. These glasses filter blue light and eliminate glare to combat digital eye strain!
We all know that caffeine keeps us awake and alert, but no one wants to be alert at all hours of the day. Drinking caffeine later in the afternoon can push back our bedtimes and even affect the quality of our sleep. Here’s what you can do:
Cut Caffeine off at 2pm
To be on the safe side, it’s wise to cut caffeine consumption at 2pm. This allows ample time for your body to get rid of caffeine before bedtime and ensures that you’ll stay asleep during the night.
Limit to 4 Cups of Coffee (400 mg of caffeine) per Day
Limiting your caffeine consumption can have positive effects on your health. Mayo Clinic suggests that adults should limit caffeine to 400 mg per day to maintain safe and healthy consumption. Caffeine in moderation will keep the late night jitters from sneaking up on you when you’re crawling into bed at night.
Your body needs the right amount of fuel to function properly throughout the day. Greasy and fatty foods can throw your system out of whack and affect your sleep. Here’s what you can do:
Eat Balanced Meals, Including Breakfast
Eating fast food seems like a viable option when you’re in a pinch or craving that burger, but oftentimes it can leave you feeling less than ideal. Eating unhealthy foods before bed causes reflux and keeps you awake in the middle of the night. It also causes your body to do more work by digesting heavy meals when your body should be resting. Eating nutritious meals, in addition to eating breakfast, helps keep you alert and focused during the day, eliminating the need for that second cup of coffee!
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