By Cindy Atoji, a writer, editor and a veteran newspaper journalist, who specializes in healthcare and business coverage.
Yea, we know that’s tough to get to bed early. Work or school can start at 7:30 a.m., and then there’s deadlines, family, chores, workout time and more. Modern living makes it hard to catch a break. But your brain is like a battery that needs recharging, or watch out—you can feel grouchy and find it hard to concentrate on any one thing.
You can get enough sleep. Here’s how:
Hit The Shut-Down Button: If you have to check your emails or social media feeds, write a paper, or play a game app, try to do it early, and not just before you go to bed. That bright computer screen might actually be affecting the biological rhythms that govern sleep. That means that the glow from the computer screen is signaling to your brain to stay up, when you should actually be sleeping.
Forget the Red Bull: That cookie and milk snack that you had as a tyke might still be the perfect bedtime munchie, as carbs + proteins = drowsy. Caffeine drinks—including soda and pop—as well as coffee and tea can make it hard to nod off when imbibed with 6 hours of bedtime. And vitamins, pills, or drinks can’t replace a good night’s rest, no matter what the advertising says.
Where’s the teddy bear? A bedtime ritual—such as brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or reading a book—can signal to your mind and body that it’s time for bed. Try to keep a consistent bed and wake-up time, and stick to it. Forgo the Comedy Central at midnight.
Last reviewed May 2018 by Tara Cousineau, PhD.