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4 Enemies of Good Sleep (And How to Defeat Them)

4 Enemies of Good Sleep (And How to Defeat Them)

Late evening is meant to be a time of relaxation, when the effort should be to invite a good nights rest. But some things we do can interfere with that simple goal, making us sleep uneasy and wake up tired.

Try to stay away from these five hurdles to good sleep, and you will wake up refreshed!

Big meals: This is an obvious one, but really hard to avoid, especially if you have had a long working day. Late evening is the time when you want to kick off your shoes, bond with family and settle down for a leisurely, hearty meal.  But remember, this is also the time when your digestive system wants to wind down and take some rest. Loading it with too much food is like asking a candle to burn a casserole. Defeat this enemy by enjoying meals that are both tasty and light. Here is a good bank of ideas.

Scary books and violent movies: Those warnings on book blurbs about how they could make you stay up all night…take them seriously if you want to sleep well. Other than compelling you to keep turning the pages, a crime thriller or scary book/movie can give you nightmares and stimulate the frontal cortex of the brain, thus interfering with sleep. Beat back this enemy by curling up a with a book of positive thoughts, a story with a happy ending, or better still, no reading–just cuddling up!

Sugary foods: A pre-bedtime Date Milk Shake or a few raisins or cherries are excellent for your health. But if you eat a huge chunk of chocolate cake, your blood sugar levels could go rocketing, thus disturbing your sleep and making you feel uncomfortable, say experts. Conquer this craving by enjoying fresh fruit, a light clafoutis or compote after dinner.

Hot baths: If you take a hot water bath and then climb straight into bed, you are likely to stare at the ceiling rather than drift off to sleep. That’s because hot water raises body temperature, while at night your body actually starts cooling down in preparation for rest. Solution: If you must have a hot bath, make sure you take it at least a couple of hours before sleeping.

 

What's Your Sleep IQ?

Can't seem to get enough snooze time? If you're tossing and turning all night and restless during the day, you may be sabotaging your sleep without knowing it. Test your sleep IQ and find out our expert secrets for sleeping well, no sheep-counting necessary.
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Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman's book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).

134 comments

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2:43PM PDT on Jun 17, 2014

I don´t like violent movies :(

1:28AM PST on Jan 15, 2014

The hot bath was a surprise to me, I have heard that they can be very relaxing. I am so lucky to enjoy a very restful sleep each night. Thanks.

4:20AM PST on Jan 11, 2014

Thanks.

3:09AM PST on Jan 11, 2014

Change one's habit

2:33AM PST on Jan 11, 2014

Thank you :)

10:12AM PST on Jan 9, 2014

thanks

4:13AM PST on Jan 9, 2014

Thanks

2:58AM PST on Jan 9, 2014

Also avoid drinking fluids at least two hours before bed time. Remember what goes in it has to come out, that is just nature, and those trips to the restroom can cut your sleeping time short, or even worst, not being able to go back to sleep.

11:12AM PST on Jan 8, 2014

Also avoid screens.

11:12AM PST on Jan 8, 2014

I heard on a science show that a hot bath can be taken closer to bedtime (not straight before but not long) as it's the process of cooling down that sends you to sleep, so you're giving yourself a headstart!

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