How come the only time I don’t want to sleep is right before bed?

A solid night of sleep can be hard to come by. Often, other things get in the way—like cramming for a final exam, finishing an essay or working a late shift.

However, sleep deprivation is no joke—it can cause you to have trouble thinking and concentrating, negatively affect your memory, give you mood swings and weaken your immune system. So, prioritizing good sleep is an essential part of any student’s routine.

We all need to rest and reset.

Getting the best sleep of your life isn’t an impossible task. Incorporating simple habits into your bedtime routine can go a long way in making sure you consistently get great nights of sleep.

To help you get the shut-eye you need to thrive, IGNITE has rounded up five simple habits you can incorporate into your nighttime routine that’ll help you have the best sleep of your life.

Give them a try (you can thank us later):

Limit screen time before you sleep

A person reaches for their iPhone and a golden retriever pushes their hand away.

For at least 30 minutes before bed, limit your exposure to screens.

Our phones, computers, TVs—basically anything with a screen—emit a high-intensity blue light that impacts our brain’s release of melatonin. This makes it harder to fall (and stay) asleep. Plus, electronics stimulate your brain and can be addictive, making it far too easy to stay up past your bedtime.

Instead, fill the time you would have spent endlessly scrolling through TikTok with screen-less activities to help calm your mind and get you ready to sleep. You could try reading a book, doing yoga, meditating or listening to calming music.

Avoid eating a big meal before bed

Matt LeBlanc sits next to an empty plate of chocolate cake and licks his lips.

In North America, it’s common to eat your biggest meal of the day at dinner. However, eating a big dinner too close to when you try to fall asleep could be keeping you up.

That’s because eating a big meal right before bed prolongs your body’s digestion process[GD1] —the muscles in your stomach that need to be resting are working to break down your food. This, in turn, makes it harder for your body to fall and stay asleep.

Most experts agree the best time to eat dinner is 3 hours before going to sleep—so your body has enough time to digest what you ate. That being said don’t go to bed hungry – have a light snack before bed if you’re feeling it.

Some foods—like almonds, kiwi, bananas and milk products—have been proven to help you fall asleep faster and/or stay asleep longer. Late-night kiwi-banana smoothie, anyone?

Stay away from caffeine before going to sleep

Too much coffee.

Even when the effects of caffeine might seem like it’s wearing off, it can still affect your sleep.

Caffeine is a stimulant and it promotes alertness—which is the opposite of what you want when trying to sleep. Therefore, for four to six hours before bedtime, try to avoid consuming caffeinated drinks and foods.

You can make this easier on yourself by swapping out your warm caffeinated evening drink for a decaffeinated one. Many teas—like chamomile, lavender, passionflower and lemon balm—have been proven to help with sleep.

Get moving during the day

Chance the rapper dancing in gym with weights in his hands.

Ever wonder why, sometimes, it feels impossible to fall asleep—even though you feel mentally exhausted?

It could be because your body isn’t as tired as your brain. So, ensuring you get in some physical activity during the day can help you get a good night’s rest.

This doesn’t mean you need to do a hardcore workout, —but, as a general goal, try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Going for walks, biking, dancing, or taking up a fitness class or even doing your daily errands are great places to start!

With all that said, avoid being active too close to bedtime. You want to be in a calm state before heading to sleep and exercise might excite your body, making it harder to fall asleep.

Do some journaling

A man putting a notebook down and going to bed.

Before bed, our minds tend to replay today’s events and fret about everything we have to accomplish tomorrow. Night anxiety can be overwhelming—and often it stops us from being able to fall asleep.

Journalling can be a great way to sort through night anxiety. Try writing out any worries you might have built up throughout the day or making to-do lists for the day ahead. Once they’re down on paper, you might find it easier to put these thoughts away and submit to a restful night of sleep.

Three people dancing and singing, "Go to bed you sleepy head!"

There you have it: five simple tricks to help you get great consistent sleep. Sweet dreams!

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