In our hyper-American culture of constant self-improvement, one of the things we most often strive for is to be healthier humans. Maybe you already are that person who abstains from meat, alcohol, dairy, processed foods and the like, exercises regularly and has never popped anything labeled “anti-anxiety” in their life, in which case, congratulations! For the rest of us, there is always something to aspire to when it comes to improving our healthy habits, and an easy place to start is by incorporating good-for-you practices before bed. Here, ten things all healthy people do before they hit the pillow.
Early To Bed, Early To Rise...
Though a report was made last year calling the benefits of flossing into question, most experts still insist its worth the trouble. At the very least, a thorough oral routine is an important part of any healthy girl's nighttime ritual—use an electric toothbrush like Quip, a Waterpik if your dentist recommends, floss and even try oil pulling and dental probiotics if you're so inclined.
A fairly recent Harvard study showed that people who practice mindful meditation before bed suffer less from insomnia, fatigue and depression. Here is a list of apps to get you started—we like Stop, Breathe & Think as well.
Dehydration causes headaches and fatigue, which is definitely not how you want to wake up to live your best life the next day. Rather than chug water before bed, it's advisable to keep a steady flow throughout the day; however, if you're feeling deficient at bedtime or have consumed alcohol, be sure to get down a glass before you hit the pillow.
We all know by now that our devices keep us up at night. If you don't believe this, try putting your phone on airplane mode at 9pm a few nights in a row and notice the difference. Even if you turn the blue light off at night, it's hard to resist the temptation to return texts, peruse Instagram or otherwise delve deep into digital if your phone is still on at night. Besides, it's healthier to have your phone "off" as often as possible, nighttime might be the only disconnect time you have—read here for more information on the health risks associated with your iPhone.
Though the amount of sleep each person requires varies, there is no question around the health benefits of getting an adequate amount for your particular genetic makeup each night. Going to bed at the same time each night is incredibly beneficial for your overall sleep health, so try setting a bedtime alarm each night to remind you that it's time to hit the hay.
Though you shouldn't down a cupcake before bed, there are some snacks that will help you sleep. Experts say to nosh on something that combines carbohydrates with the amino acid tryptophan, which can be found in foods like cheese, milk and turkey, around an hour before bed.
According to some research, journaling actually boosts the immune system. It can also help you clear out stressful or negative thoughts and work out problems that might otherwise keep you up later than you'd like.
A 2009 study showed that reading for just six minutes reduces stress by 68%. That's mind-blowing! Tonight, turn off your phone and crack open a book—the old-fashioned kind is best.
Our bodies naturally cool down in order to sleep—but you can fake or jumpstart this process by heating up first via a bath. As your body cools down, you will start to feel sleepy but the trick is not to overheat as this will actually keep you awake instead. Showers work, too.
Stretching is a great tension-reliever, and doing so before bed can improve the way your body feels the next morning. Here are some simple stretches to do in order to optimize your nightly snooze.