- Watch how your body reacts to alcohol.
The liver tends to kick in quite some time after you have your alcohol intake.
So a cool beer might help you to go to sleep easier. But its digestion a couple of hours later will most likely lead to those famous 3-4 am wake ups.
- Exercise in the evening: yes or no?
The truth is that we all react differently to exercise. For a long time the general consensus was that exercising in the evening would be too stimulating to have you sleep well. But a study in 2013 has shown that it often doesn’t make much of a difference at all.
So if you are someone who has been dealing with sleep issues and you avoided exercising in the evening because you thought it might make things worse, give it a try and see how your body reacts to it. You might be surprised.
- You might be too tired!
This sounds completely contradictory, so let me explain. If you are consistently lacking your optimal amount of sleep, you are collecting a sleep debt.
Imagine an empty backpack. During the day you collect bricks, let’s say one every two hours. At night, through your sleep, your body is recovering and progressively getting rid of the bricks. So if you get enough hours of sleep your backpack is empty the next day.
So what happens if you don’t get enough sleep? You basically wake up with one or even more bricks in your backpack. The weight is getting heavier and heavier.
So here is the good news. It is very easy for humans to recuperate sleep and chuck all of those bricks out. So don’t worry about having an overly heavy backpack all your life.
But a consequence of consistent sleep deprivation is that your body gets stressed. It starts producing insulin and adrenalin –both of these are counterproductive to sleep. So even though you are tired and craving sleep you feel wound up, nervous and ‘itchy’.
So what can you do? Listen to your body and catch the first window of opportunity when it tells you that it is sleepy. That might be as early as 9pm. But it will help you to drift into a perfect night of sleep and you will feel superhuman the next day.