As it turns out, there may be a scientific formula for the perfect nightly routine. As , being mindful of a few basic rules after work can make for a healthier and more restful evening. While peppering in your favorite personal activities, like reading, journaling, or practicing gratitude, is encouraged, abiding by the below scientifically proven rules will pay dividends, both in terms of your sleep quality and overall health. Below, find the ideal nightly routine, according to science.
Put away your phone at least 30 minutes before bedtime. The blue light that emanates from our smartphone screens actually tempers the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for telling our minds and bodies to prepare for sleep. stashing your phone at least 30 minutes before you plan to go to bed.
Skip happy hour and stay hydrated. "Alcohol is one of the world's most widely consumed drugs, but drinking even small amounts—as little as one glass of wine or beer a day—has been linked with a host of negative side effects, including cancer," writes BI. Alcohol consumption can also wreak havoc on your sleep quality. Instead, focus on staying hydrated—failing to do so can lead to fatigue, headaches, and overeating. Certain foods, like cauliflower, eggplant, peppers, spinach, carrots, green peas, and even white potatoes are also a good source of water, meaning you'll have to drink less.
Limit your mid-afternoon caffeine intake. Finishing off that second cup of coffee around 3 p.m. can disrupt your sleep cycle later. The Mayo Clinic recommends limiting caffeine intake to 400 mg per day, or two to three cups. "Like too much of anything, excess caffeine comes with risks, including migraine headaches, irritability, upset stomach, and even muscle tremors—so it's important to know how much you're getting," writes the publication.
Watch your portion sizes at dinner. Considering that the baseline portion sizes of our standard snacks and meals has soared over the past few decades, the publication recommends taking up to one-third of your dinner to go if you're dining out. At home, it's best to be mindful of portion and serving sizes when cooking dinner.
The Essentials for a Better Nighttime Routine
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