What you should - and shouldn't - do two hours before bedtime

What you should - and shouldn't - do two hours before bedtime What you should - and shouldn't - do two hours before bedtime

When it comes to natural sleep aids, most of us are familiar with the old, common-sense advice. Have a bath, avoid heavy meals and try not to look at screens.

But experts say there are many more tweaks to your evening routine that you may be less familiar with.

A lot of these changes involve avoiding certain behaviors you may have been doing for most of your life.

For instance, forgoing that curry for dinner can be the difference between a fragmented and restful night sleep, Dr Ankit Parekh, an assistant professor of sleep medicine in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai told DailyMail.com.

Below, the sleep expert reveals his most important dos and don'ts for getting a good night's rest without any medical intervention.

DON'T eat chocolate and spicy food, or do cardio

Firstly, choose your evening meal wisely.

You might be aware that eating late — after 8pm — is associated with weight gain and a higher risk of obesity.

But what you eat later at night can also impact your sleep. Specifically, eating spicy or fatty foods in the hours before bed can lead to indigestion, commonly known as heartburn.

The symptoms — which include a feeling of acid rising up from the stomach and into the throat — can wake you up, wrecking your sleep quality.

Next, consider keeping your coffee intake for morning hours only.Some research has shown that the stimulant effect of caffeine can remain for about six hours after you consume it.

This means your body may feel hyper-alert as you're preparing to go to bed, making it difficult to wind down. Dr Parekh suggests quitting the java before 3pm.

And while you might think that a couple of beers will send you to sleep, don't be fooled — it is known to reduce the quality of shut-eye.

When people drink alcohol, it reduces the amount of time they spend in deeper stages of sleep- this is generally the period that your body takes to repair, according to the Sleep Foundation. So losing out on this stage could mean you're missing out on the health benefits of quality sleep.

Regular booze intake also increases your likelihood of developing sleep apnea, a condition that causes people to stop breathing while asleep.

Alcohol can cause the throat and tongue muscles to relax, which can block the flow of oxygen. This wakes people up repeatedly, making for a poor nights sleep.

Next, although exercise is generally thought of as good for sleep, avoid intense cardio after 7pm, Dr Parekh said.

That's because cardiovascular exercise can ramp up your heart rate and internal temperature making it difficult to fall asleep soon after.

Dr Parekeh also emphasized the importance of avoiding all things screens in the hour before bed — be it your cell phone, laptop or tablet.

DO turn on your AC, clean your room and take some deep breaths

A handful of simple tricks can make your bedroom as sleep-friendly as possible.

First, if you have air conditioning, set it to the ideal, sleep-inducing temperature of 66-72°F (18-22° C), Dr Parekh said.

You should also ensure that your bedroom is a relaxing, tidy environment.

De-cluttering one's bedroom was found to help insomniacs get to sleep more quickly and consistently, one 2017 study of 1,052 volunteers found.

Research suggests that stretching, practicing mindfulness or doing breathing exercises will also help calm the mind before sleep.

As for your nighttime routine, begin winding down two hours before you plan to go to bed.

Whatever you particular routine is, keeping these steps consistent will signal to your body that it's time to start winding down, and you will naturally notice yourself becoming sleepy, Dr Zweig said.

'We need to transition slowly to sleep,' Dr Zweig said. This includes going to bed at roughly the same time every night.

Studies have shown that people who have consistent sleep schedules are healthier overall, Dr Parekh said.

Surprisingly, experts say it's not just what you do — or don't do — in the evening that has an impact on your sleep.

Getting plenty of sunlight during the day helps cement your body's circadian rhythm — the natural cycle of hormones that rule your wakefulness, Dr Parekh said.

Bombarding the body with sunlight during the day triggers a natural wakefulness that will help make sure you're tired when the lights go out at night.

If you do all this, you should be in a good position to get a good nights sleep, Dr Parekh said.

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  • https://www.msn.com/en-xl/health/other/what-you-should-and-shouldn-t-do-two-hours-before-bedtime/ar-BB1pyVR8?ocid=00000000

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