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Why You Should Take a Nighttime Routine Seriously

By Stepy Kamei

There's no way around it -- sleep is one of the most fundamental aspects of our health and wellness. Scientists may still be unsure why exactly we need to sleep (besides the simple fact that we inevitably get tired), but it's clear that when we don't sleep well, there's often a whole host of health issues waiting for us on the other side of sleepiness. You don't need a sleep study to tell you how you fare after a night of poor sleep -- irritability, lack of focus, and poor eating habits are just some of the immediate effects of a lack of sleep. Over time, we may experience an increase in the likelihood of developing such serious health ailments as heart disease, obesity, depression, and anxiety.

Clearly, getting a good night's rest, consistently, is serious business. If you're one of millions of people struggling with this, you may want to consider starting up a reliable nighttime routine. Keep on reading to pick up some helpful advice on how to get started!

The 3 Pillars of a Helpful Nighttime Routine

As you settle into a regular routine for yourself every night, your body and mind will begin to associate these rhythms with sleep, and it'll more than likely be easier and easier to fall asleep at a decent time. Be sure to choose gentle, quiet activities which will encourage your brain to begin winding down.

First and foremost, be sure to avoid bright screens in the hour (or two, if possible) before bedtime. Consider keeping all electronics and bright lights out of the bedroom, as these lights can interfere with your natural sleep-wake cycles and confuse the brain into thinking it needs to be awake and alert even at night.

Next, avoid eating heavy foods and caffeinated beverages before going to sleep. If the body is digesting, it'll have a harder time getting to sleep, and sleeping deeply. If you must snack before bed, choose a light snack such as yogurt or crackers. Avoid sugary sweets as they'll just wake you up again! As for something to drink, try sipping a hot herbal tea (you can add honey if you need a sweeter taste). Chamomile and lavender blends are soothing and known to help induce deeper rest.

Finally, you may want to try out certain easygoing activities in the hour before bed. Maybe taking a shower or bath is soothing at night. You can light a candle and crack open a book. Maybe try a soothing yoga practice and a short guided meditation. What's important is to find a series of calming and helpful practices which over time will help signal to your body and brain that it's time to sleep, peacefully and deeply!

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Memphis, Tenn. 

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