“You need to focus on a couple of things to be primed for sleep,” says Jaspal Singh, M.D., sleep specialist with Carolinas HealthCare System and internal medicine, pulmonary, and critical care expert at Carolinas Medical Center. First, your nutrition, and second, your mental health—they’re both intimately linked with sleeping better, says Singh.
Nutrition, of course, includes eating a balanced diet, but you also want to avoid heavy dinners late at night, especially ones that include spicy, fatty foods. You also need to watch your caffeine consumption in the form of pills, sodas, coffee, and energy drinks. “People don’t realize how much caffeine they’re actually taking in or how long it takes to work out of your system,” he adds. As you get older and your metabolism drops, caffeine’s effects last longer than they used to.
As for the mental health factor, there’s a slew of exercises you could be doing before bed to help you get to sleep faster. From visualization exercises that calm your racing mind to physical movements that actively release tension before bed, Singh has highlighted the ones he recommends to patients, and how to implement them into your daily routine.
If you still feel very drowsy and sleepy during the day, go see your primary care doctor or sleep specialist.
“Your body temperature rises with exercise and then drops with your post-exercise cool down, which actually helps you fall asleep,” Singh explains. This usually takes about an hour or so. If you can’t time your HIIT workout, run, or regular strength training session to end an hour before bedtime, stick to light bodyweight exercise like…