When you have a long and busy day, the feeling of getting home and finally having a moment to relax can be a huge relief. Maybe you get a couple of hours to eat dinner, watch TV, and hang out with the family before going to bed. Many people, LGBTQ and otherwise, only look forward to the part of the night when they first get home.
However, the routine you have before you go to bed can have a big impact on your overall physical and mental health. This routine dictates your ability to sleep consistently and also affects what your morning will look like.
The key to starting your day right is finishing it well the night before. Here are some practices that you should consider adding to your nighttime routine before bed.
Brushing Your Teeth
While most adults brush their teeth every morning, a large percentage of Americans will skip this oral hygiene practice at night. Throughout the day, you will eat a lot of food, all of which can leave bacteria or debris behind in your mouth. Leaving these substances in your mouth overnight can contribute to the buildup of plaque and tartar, and it can also cause gum diseases. Brushing your teeth at night should become a habit to ensure you are going to bed with a cleaner mouth and mitigating the spread of bacteria in this crucial area.
Taking Oral Probiotics
Don’t you hate how your breath smells in the morning? That is because bacteria in your mouth sit there overnight. Doing what you can to eliminate this bacteria at night can freshen your breath and support oral health. This habit would also be a kindness to your spouse who may not love rolling over at night and getting a waft of bad breath as they are trying to sleep. Try investing in some oral probiotics to combat this issue.
One of the worst habits to have is looking at screens right before bedtime. First, screens can put a strain on your eyes, so the more you use them, the more likely you are to face eyesight problems in the future. Second, screens trick your brain into thinking it is still daytime, so that the mind will remain active. This will make it harder to fall asleep, shortening the number of hours you can go through the REM cycle. Try to make it a habit to ditch your devices for a longer period before heading to bed.
If you want to experience higher quality sleep, then you need your body to be as peaceful as possible. Consuming late night snacks can often disrupt that. Typically, the snacks we eat at night are sugary or have a lot of calories because we want to feel full. This makes our body work harder to digest them. This is more likely to result in you waking up often during the night since your body has to keep functioning.
Mental health is very important, and since you may have few times during the day that you can slow down, your nighttime routine might be the best time to focus on mental practices. One simple strategy is to practice meditation before bedtime. Maybe before you settle down to read or go to bed, you can simply lay down and focus on your breathing. Or, do the same outside on your porch once the kids have all gone to bed. This time can help restore your energy and settle your mind at the end of a long day, preparing you for the next. Mediation is also a great self-growth strategy, so the benefits will have lasting effects.
Read a Book
One of the best ways to prepare your brain for sleep is to read a book. This activity requires stillness of the body, which signals the brain to reduce activity. However, when you read a book, your imagination is active, working your brain without engaging in physical activity. This can tire the mind out, making it easier to fall asleep faster. Getting in the habit of reading for twenty or thirty minutes before bed is a great way to promote mental health and better sleep.
Your Night time Routine Can Support Better Health
Getting ready for bed is one of the few times during the day where things tend to slow down. Taking advantage of this time with the right practices can support physical and mental health. Brushing your teeth and taking probiotics can ensure your mouth is clean and free of bacteria, as well as morning breath. Meditation, no devices, and leisure reading can make it easier to calm your mind and fall asleep fast. Avoiding snacks can help you stay asleep through the night. The right changes to your night time routine can be a game changer, so try out one or two of these steps tonight.