Catching up on #TBTs and engagement announcements before hitting the hay can be entertaining, but it's time to ditch your social media life for an activity that better preps you for sleep. And your phone's not invited.
Studies show the light emitted from a smartphone totally messes with your quality of sleep. Keeping one close by your pillow also makes it tempting to check in the middle of night, making it so you're never truly able to unplug.
Instead, here are some healthier ways to unwind at night, a roundup of things to do before bed that aren't scrolling through your phone. You'll thank yourself tomorrow:
1. Read a book.
We love a good binge, but not when it means sacrificing slumber. Luckily, there's a way to get your fictional character fix without a tiny screen with Netflix: A captivating novel. Research shows reading can help improve sleep. Don't mind if we do.
2. Call your mom.
We realize we're breaking the rule a little bit with this one, but since it doesn't involve mindless scrolling, we'll make the exception. Research shows talking with a loved one like your mom can help reduce stress, and lower stress is a crucial component when it comes to drifting off. If you can't chat with her in person, give her a quick ring -- then stash your device when you're done.
3. Take a warm bath or shower.
The ideal temperature for sleep is around 68 degrees Fahrenheit -- and a warm bath is arguably the most relaxing way to get you there. When you take a steamy bath or shower, it brings up your body temperature and then it slowly cools once you get out, giving you the perfect prep for rest. Sleepiness: Activated.
Breathe in, breathe out, find sleep. Studies suggest meditation can help people relax and get a better night's rest. Not only that, it has amazing health benefits. Even just a few minutes will do the trick. Check out these suggestions on how to get your practice started.
5. Have sex.
Your bed should be reserved for two things only: Sleep and sex. May as well engage in the latter before drifting off; research even suggests it may help. Sex produces oxytocin, the feel-good hormone released in the brain, and decreases the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn inspires a state of relaxation.
6. Write in a journal.
Too anxious to drift off? Write it out instead of typing it out in a Facebook status. Research shows that jotting down worries and then physically throwing them away can help clear your mind of negative thoughts.
7. Drink some tea.
Sip on something warm and comforting before crawling into someplace warm and comforting. A few sleepy time teas have ingredients that can help aid in sleep. Drink up then lay down.
8. Do a craft.
De-stressing is the name of the game for this activity, as well. Research shows crafts like knitting and coloring can help you relax. It's a productive and creative way to unwind and prep your mind for sleep.
9. Listen to music.
Just make sure it's not uplifting concertos, which research shows can actually increase your alertness. Instead, try some soft ballads or calming music. While you're at it, light a lavender candle (it also helps promote sleep) and just enjoy a few moments of using your senses. Just make sure to eliminate the flame and the tunes before crawling in for the night.
10. Try some yoga.
Namaste to a better night's rest. Yoga boasts many benefits, including lower stress and a calmer mind. Try one of these poses before bed.
11. Conjure up a relaxing scene.
Who needs to imagine sheep when you can picture yourself stretched out on a beach instead? Research shows the longstanding sleep tradition of counting those animals actually engages the brain rather than preps it for rest. Calming images are a way better way to chill out your mind.
If you ask us, relaxing IRL sounds way better than seeing pictures of someone else's relaxing vacation on the Internet, anyway. Sorry, Instagram. You've been replaced.
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