You exercise regularly, and you eat well-ish. On paper you're doing everything right, but you're still not feeling great.
There are a lot of healthy habits that can affect your sleep negatively if they're done too close to bedtime. Some of the activities that are helping you in one area may be hurting you in another.
Here are 5 ways your healthy choices might be effing up your sleep habits...
1. YOU'RE WORKING OUT LIKE A BEAST
You know this already, but during your workout your heart rate elevates and hormones are released. When you go straight home to bed you're not giving your body a chance to get all its crazy levels back to normal before shutting-down for the night. If you find you're too worked-up to fall asleep after the gym, try going earlier in the day, or switching to a lower-impact workout in the early evening, like yoga or pilates.
2. YOU LOVE RELAXING IN A HOT BATH
The hot water might relax your mind and muscles before going to sleep, but the heat raises your body temperature, giving your body more work to regulate levels during light sleep stages. (If you're showering after your evening workout, you're adding even more to the workload!) If you're waking up in the middle of the night in a pool of your own sweat, or having a hard time falling asleep at all, your evening soak might be the culprit. Finish your bath or shower (or hot tub dip!) at least 45-60 minutes before going to bed.
3. YOU EAT PROTEIN FOR DINNER
Protein is important, I know that, BUT (and you knew there was a BUT coming) eating a big protein meal too close to bedtime can cause restlessness if your body is concentrating on the task of digestion. If you're prone to bloating after meals, that can also make it uncomfortable. Try making lunch your big protein meal, and having a lighter dinner, OR (and you knew there was an OR coming) make sure dinner is finished a few hours before going to bed.
4. A GLASS OF WINE HELPS YOU RELAX
Alcohol can help you fall asleep, but it's not great at helping you stay asleep. Finish your glass two hours before bed and we'll call it even.
5. YOU TRACK PROGRESS ON YOUR PHONE
Maybe you're counting macros, or logging your workouts, or posting to a running group on Facebook. Technology is great at providing resources for whatever healthy change we're making in our lives, but the added blue screen exposure is not one of the perks! Blue light exposure from your phone is blocking Melatonin production, keeping you from feeling sleepy. Use the "Night Light" feature on your phone, or give yourself a tech curfew to keep your nights dark and dreamy!
The theme of this post is making time to wind-down before bed, not winding-up. Make the 45-60 minutes before bed a sacred time of relaxing and preparing your body for sleep. Create an evening ritual that you look forward to, and spend time doing calming activities like reading or listening to music. If an activity makes you feel sleepy, add it to your ritual!