Caffeine: Reduce or avoid caffeine intake later in the day. Caffeine has an average half life of 5 hours in most individuals. (1) For example, if you have one cup of coffee at 4pm, half of the caffeine is still in your system around 9pm and a quarter of the caffeine is still in your system around 2 am. Caffeine is found in coffee, some teas, energy drinks, chocolate and some headache remedies. Decaffeinated does not mean “zero caffeine” so you shouldn’t consume these products late in the day either. Some decaf beverages can contain 10-30% the amount of caffeine found in one cup of coffee. (2) There are other sources of caffeine so be sure to read labels. Sources: (1)Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Military Nutrition Research. Caffeine for the Sustainment of Mental Task Performance: Formulations for Military Operations. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2001. 2, Pharmacology of Caffeine. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK223808/ (2) Decaf Coffee Isn’t Caffeine Free; Warner J. https://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20061011/decaf-coffee-isnt-caffeine-free 30 minutes prior to desired bedtime: Ensure all lights are turned down low. Don’t use bright lights. Avoid watching mentally stimulating movies or television. If you must watch television, watch something relaxing. Avoid the use of your smartphone or tablet. Avoid reading mentally stimulating magazines or books. Read relaxing items, short stories or positive articles. At bedtime: Ensure you don’t have lights pointed directly at your face. This includes digital clocks. Establish a calm relaxing environment in your bedroom. Some find it helpful to have some background calming music or sound machine to block out noise from outside the room. Try a mantra. A mantra is a word or phrase that you can repeat to yourself over and over to keep the mind focused and calm. Some examples that can be used at bedtime: “I am peaceful, I am calm. I am peaceful, I am calm.” “Deep, restful sleep. Deep, restful sleep.” Repeat until you are relaxed and before you know it, you’ll be catching some zzzzz’s. Using the bedroom as a home office: The bedroom should be associated with relaxation and sleep. If you work from home and also use your bedroom as a home office, the brain might have a hard time with “disconnecting” that association, thus affecting your ability to relax. You may want to consider moving your office to another area of the house. If that’s not possible, create a special “work zone” in the bedroom where work is conducted only in that space.
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