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Things You Should Do Before Bed to Wake Up Refreshed and Productive

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Woman stretching near bed after wake up

This is a guest post by Lucy Benton. She is a writing coach, an editor who finds her passion in expressing own thoughts as a blogger, and currently writes for Assignment Helper. She is constantly looking for the ways to improve her skills and expertise. You can find her on FaceBook and Twitter.


You know that feeling when you wake up fully energized and refreshed? It’s awesome because that energy lasts the whole day and helps to accomplish everything you wanted. The habit of waking up well-rested is necessary to have a productive day, so you need to adopt it using proven methods.

There are many techniques people use to feel refreshed in the morning. We are going to learn some of them in this article.

The following list contains a lot of them, so you don’t necessarily need to try each one. Just pick up those that you think will work and try them out.

Let’s make you a productivity machine with these habits!

Avoid Technology

Devices like smartphones and computers are our daily helpers but they are useless and even harmful when it comes to helping us sleep. There is a ton of research suggesting that phone-related activities such as browsing social media stimulate the brain and keep it alert for a long time.

Apparently, the light emitted by most modern smartphones influence our sleep patterns. This light is called “blue light,” and it has a short wavelength of 475 nanometers. This type of light is the most commonly used in artificial lighting devices and gadgets like smartphones.

The blue light gets picked up by special cells behind the eyeballs and communicates to the brain that the morning has arrived. As the result, the person has trouble falling asleep because their sleep patterns are affected.

Here are the results of a 2012 Time poll conducted in seven developed countries that confirmed that younger people were more likely to experience poor sleep because of technology:

Poll from the Atlantic

Image Source: The Atlantic

To avoid these harmful effects, you should stay away from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. It’s a good idea to keep them in a different room if you can.

Prepare your Clothes for Tomorrow

Men suits

Victory loves preparation – this saying perfectly illustrates the point. Have you ever experienced frustration in the morning because you could not decide what to wear? Many people have. Moreover, there might be some other things that needed to prepare that morning besides clothes. In this case, your morning is pretty much ruined by rushed preparation.

Image Source: The image is in the public domain

To avoid frustration and rush, you need to get yourself ready the night before. Choose the clothes to wear in the evening and maybe put them somewhere else so everything would be there when you wake up.

This little trick can save you tons of time and eliminate all worries about what to wear. Even when if you don’t know what to select, just try everything on together to avoid last-minute surprises.

Take a Long Bath

You might be surprised to see this one on this list but it really works. The mechanism is simple: a nice hot bath increases the temperature of your body. The increase triggers a tired and sleepy feeling because most of your metabolic functions (heart rate, breathing, digestion) are slowed down.

The research supports these claims. For example, one study involving seniors found that a 40-minute bath at 410C was effective in decreasing wakefulness. It concluded that the bath should be about one hour before bedtime.

Scientists also recommend to soak in the tub for at least 20 minutes two hours before bedtime. For example, Joyce Walsleben from the New York University School of Medicine suggested that we should raise the body temperature by a degree or two using a bath because it can improve the quality of sleep.

You can try shower as well but it might not be as effective as a hot bath. Anyway, try it, and see how it can help you.

Limit Evening Meal and Drinks

Unhealthy Food

Many people love to have a large meal or a snack in the evening. This is a bad idea because the food can trigger the digestive system to work overtime. If a dinner involves alcohol, it will disrupt sleep patterns later in the night, thus preventing you from getting restorative REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

Image Source: The image is in the public domain

Drinking a lot of liquid before going to bed is also a bad idea, says William Dement, a physician and sleep specialist from Stanford University. According to him, many adults get up at night at least once for this reason, which might be disruptive for sleep. Dement recommends limiting drinks before bed to minimize the disruption of sleep patterns by too many trips to the bathroom.

The most influential sleep bandits are caffeine and acidic and spicy foods. For example, caffeine can cause serious problems falling asleep as much as 10 hours, so foods and drinks containing this stimulant should be avoided. They include sodas, teas, and chocolate.

Next, spicy and acidic foods cause heartburn that painfully disrupts sleep. It is a burning sensation from acid reflux that occurs in the throat. According to EveryDay Health, one if four people who experience sleeplessness report having nighttime heartburn.

Lying down just makes heartburn symptoms worse, so it means no sleep that night. So, to wake up well-rested, you need to avoid caffeine-rich food and drinks as well as spicy and acidic foods. And, of course, limit your food and drink intake before bed.

Eat Nutrients for Better Sleep

Healthy Salad

Now that we know what foods need to be avoided, we can discuss those that can make you sleepy. However, you need to remember that any food should be consumed at least three hours before bedtime.

Image Source: The image is in the public domain

Here is the list of foods proven to help sleep better:

  • Walnuts. They are an excellent source of sleep-enhancing acid called tryptophan. Moreover, walnuts contain melatonin that helps to fall asleep.
  • Cherries. Eating a cup of whole cherries helps sleep by providing the body with melatonin.
  • Lettuce. This food contains lactucarium, often called lettuce opium. This alternative title has been given for a good reason because lactucarium has sedative properties. Just simmer several large lettuce leaves in a cup of water for 15 minutes. Add springs of mint and drink before bed.
  • Bananas. Nutritionists recommend to consume at least one banana to improve sleep because this fruit contains a lot of potassium and magnesium. A deficiency of these minerals can cause nighttime muscle cramps and restless leg syndrome that profoundly affect sleep.
  • Tuna. This fish is a well-known source of vitamin B6 needed to produce serotonin and melatonin.
  • Almonds. Many people have low magnesium levels, and almonds are rich in this mineral.

Dim the Lights

Night Light

A large body of scientific studies suggests that dimming the lights promotes a deeper sleep. Indeed, human body releases melatonin (a chemical that makes us sleepy) only late in the evening. However, the release occurs only in case if the system receives the right cues from the environment.

“A dimly lit room is a right cue from the environment that puts you in the right mindset for sleep,” says Dorris Cole, a sleep specialist from Awriter.org. “In contrast, a brightly lit room does not stimulate melatonin production.”

It is commonly recommended to dim down the light around an hour before you go to sleep. For that, you’ll need to install a dimmer in your house.

Sleep at the Right Time

Many people are wondering how many hours of sleeping is enough. Also, some are often asking sleep scientists what is the right time to go bed. They think they are making a mistake by going to bed at 11 pm because it might be too late.

Image Source: The image is in the public domain

However, the truth is that everyone has their unique sleep schedule and time. If you typically sleep 8 or 9 hours, then it’s your habit that needs to be followed. There is no need to compare it with others.

The U.S National Institutes of Health provide the following sleep duration recommendations for different age groups:

  • Teenagers (4 to 17 y.o) – 8 to 10 hours
  • Adults (18 to 64 y.o.) – 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (over 64 y.o.) – 7-8 hours
  • Pregnant women – few more hours than adults

In case if the sleeping schedule needs to be changed for some reason, you have to implement it very slowly. This way, you’ll avoid feeling tired and sleepy. For example, if you need to decrease the sleeping time from 9 hours to 8 hours, do it gradually. Wake up 10 minutes earlier for ten days and continue to cut the time from there.

Buy a More Comfortable Mattress and Pillow

Comfortable Bed

Everyone should have a high-quality mattress and pillow because they affect sleep in a big way. We sleep for one third of our lives. For example, a 75-year-old person sleeps on average 25 years! Do you really want to spend all this time uncomfortable?

We strongly suggest you buy a comfortable mattress and pillow for yourself. Of course, good ones are pricey, but you have to remember that a one-time buy will produce benefits that you’ll feel for years.

This purchase will be one of the best you’ve ever done because you will experience a good sleep on a good bed.

Adjust the Temperature

Are you too cold or too hot when trying to fall asleep? For some people, the temperature is an essential condition for a good night’s sleep. Sleep scientists agree that the temperature in the bedroom needs to be comfortable because it affects how long the person sleeps.

For example, when you are trying to sleep, the body temperature goes down. This mild drop induces sleep. However, if the temperature is too high or too cold, the body struggles to achieve that mild drop. Even if you fall asleep in this case, the quality of REM sleep also suffers.

According to sleep experts, recommending a particular range of the best temperature for sleeping is not easy. It is explained by the fact that every person has a unique optimal range. Typically, however, people are advised to keep the temperature in the bedroom between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Make sure this temperature stays consistent and keep your bed away from fans and windows. Also, if your feet get cold during the night, put socks. Having cold feet is very disruptive to sleep because a lack of an extra layer reduces circulation in the extremities. The heat improves the circulation, thus helping you to fall asleep more quickly.

Write Down Everything That You Need to Remember

An anxiety is a frequent phenomenon among people who need to do a lot of things in the morning. It is often recommended to keep a small notepad where you can write down everything that you need to do in the morning.

Image Source: The image is in the public domain

Need to call your friend? Order a pizza? Buy a present for a colleague? Write it down! Even a small thing can cause a lot of concern when you have other things to do. For example, you simply wouldn’t have enough time to do it.

Moreover, by having a to-do list, you give your brain a permission to stop thinking they can be forgotten.

Listen to Slow and Soft Tunes

Violin

The right kind of music can be a real helper for those trying to get a good sleep. Even those with sleep disturbances benefit from music therapy. According to Neuroscience News, a 2015 study completed by Aarhus University showed that slow and relaxing music improved the quality of sleep in people with insomnia.

The study examined the effect of listening to music at bedtime daily for 25 minutes. The participants reported decreased wakefulness and absolutely no side effects. Also, the music improved the quality of sleep in terms of sleep deficiency, total sleep time, sleep onset latency, and sleep interruption.

By listening to a relaxing music, you slow down your thinking process, and the brain knows that you are preparing to go to bed. If you need some inspiration, check out these sleep-better playlists from Fitness Magazine and YouTube. Create your own playlist or use these ones and play it to relax before going to bed.

Final Thoughts

To live an active and successful life, you need to get a quality sleep every day. The tips in this article will support you on your way there, so feel free to try some of them and let us know the results.

Begin your day with energy that will transform you into a productivity machine. It’s totally worth putting a little effort in the evening to make the morning really great, agree? So let’s make these your habits!


This is a guest post by Lucy Benton. She is a writing coach, an editor who finds her passion in expressing own thoughts as a blogger, and currently writes for Assignment Helper. She is constantly looking for the ways to improve her skills and expertise. You can find her on FaceBook and Twitter.

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1 Comment

Posted by Michael W. Perry, medical writer  | August 10, 2017 at 7:41PM | Reply

Great advice. I’ll add another that’s particularly helpful if your head is buzzing with ideas at bedtime. Settle it down by listening to a light and amusing audiobook as you lie there. P. G. Wodehouse is great for that. You can download several dozen of his classics for free here:

https://librivox.org

Oh, and when ideas come to me in the night I email them to myself, so I don’t lie awake and fret about remembering them. I use the MeMail app on my iPhone to mail myself, but any email app will do.

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