Of all the bedhead styles you might encounter (Dynamite, The Flick, The Flathead, and Flawless), it’s probably safe to assume that you would probably prefer to wake up every single day with a flawless do. Who wouldn’t want to?
Here are five ways you might be able to achieve Flawless bedhead.
If you toss and turn a lot, you probably end up with Dynamite hair. Want to be one of those people who sleeps deeply in one spot all night and awakens refreshed and unsullied?
What we eat and drink after lunch can wreak havoc on our sleep.
Curb the caffeine: Caffeinated products (coffee, chocolate, tea, soda, energy drinks, caffeine-enhanced foods) consumed in the afternoon will be mostly metabolized by bedtime. Even so, remnants of caffeine remain for many more hours afterward. This can explain tossing and turning, fits of insomnia, racing thoughts, and unexpected midnight awakenings.
Eat dinner at dinner time and no later: If you eat your evening meal before 7pm, you are far more likely to sleep better. Why? You’ve given your digestive system adequate time to do its job before you head to bed. If the body struggles to digest a meal, the results could be discomfort, indigestion, bloating, and acid reflux… all known to disrupt sleep.
Pick your menu wisely: Eat your evening meal with an eye toward smaller portions of whole foods (fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, unprocessed foods). This ensures you don’t overdo it with hidden sodium, simple sugars and empty calories. Sleep struggles can also be blamed on spicy or high-fat foods, foods that cause gas, and food groups you are sensitive or allergic to.
You may not move around a lot as you sleep, but that doesn’t mean your sleep isn’t without disruptions. If you laugh at the idea that your bedroom is a sleep sanctuary, chances are your bedroom needs its own makeover.
Your sleeping environment should induce relaxation, not prevent it.
Address a disruptive bed partner: Maybe your sleeping buddy is a dog or a cat. Recent research shows that a pet in the bed can have a measurable negative effect on your sleep quality. Just as likely: your bed partner either snores loudly or tosses and turns. They could use a consult with a sleep professional. If they watch TV or stare at their phone after lights out, that’s also a problem. Sometimes poor sleep is not caused by anything we do, but by what our loved ones are doing.
Lights out! The best sleep is achieved in complete darkness. However, light conditions in bedrooms may not be so conducive. Ambient light may enter your bedroom from a window room, for instance. Or you might work the night shift and sleep during the day. Wear an eye mask or place room darkening shades on your windows. Also, turn off backlit electronic devices, which emit blue spectrum light. It’s known to prevent your brain from releasing sleep-inducing melatonin into the bloodstream.
Silence is golden: Noise can prevent falling asleep or wake you up in the middle of the night. It could be noise you can’t control (jets in an overhead flight path, construction noise) or noise you can control (loud television or “night owls” chatting in the other room). Earbuds or earphones that cancel out noise can keep these distractions to a minimum. So can silencing smartphones. A white noise machine, or even a fan or a soft music playing on a nearby speaker, can also help.
Sometimes you can go to bed and stay in the same position all night… not because you slept well, but because you’re an insomniac.
Understanding the root cause of your sleeplessness is important. Here are some ways to prevent it, if possible:
Disable racing thoughts: Everyone experiences sleep-disrupting stress from time to time. When it keeps you up every night, you need to figure out why. A key problem among insomniacs is a phenomenon known as “racing thoughts.” It’s the brain playing ping pong with your fears, essentially. Finding a way to disable this behavior is your best option. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT-i, is one way to achieve it.
Breathe: Relaxation is critical for falling asleep. Even after the worst-ever day, you still need to sleep to recover from it. If you don’t sleep well, stress intensifies the next day as sleep deprivation sets in. Breathing is one of the easiest ways to counter stress. Taking counted breaths is simple and very effective. You can ask a local yoga practitioner for advice, or take a private class on breathing techniques, to master your breath as a built-in relaxation tool.
Manage your pain: Pain can make sleep nearly impossible to achieve. How we manage our pain can also impact how well we sleep. Some pain medications are more conducive to sleep than others; ask both your prescribing physician and your pharmacist to review yours (for pain, or for other conditions) to ensure they’re not causing poor sleep. Also, consider nonpharmaceutical options. A transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS) unit is a lifesaver for those with joint and muscle problems. Some topical analgesic creams can also help with pain.
Human beings are creatures of habit, and that means we can be soothed by a certain predictability to our schedules. Here are three easy bedtime rituals to help you sleep well at night:
Stretch: Sometimes we don’t process stress through racing thoughts, but through tight muscles. A short series of relaxing yoga poses can go a long way toward relieving your body of the stress it has carried in its tissues all day long. The breathing that is part of the yoga practice is an additional benefit.
Read: Choose reading materials that provide escapism and which aren’t too stimulating. Stick to playful storylines, lightweight topics, or language that is—let’s face it—boring. These options are more conducive to sleep than page-turning thrillers, politics, or writing meant to “stir the pot.”
Note: Night readers should also consider a hidden sleep disruptor—lighting. Most backlit e-readers emit blue spectrum light, and LED booklights are blindingly bright. You can find blue light filters on some devices now (or download an app to do the job) and booklights can be filtered. Or, try wearing a pair of blue light blocking glasses, or use your bedside incandescent lamp as your light source.
Try aromatherapy: For some people, the scent of lavender or chamomile is incredibly calming and pleasant. You can find sachets of either herb to place inside your pillow to release their fragrance. Personal vapor steaming devices have herbal options. Pillow sprays and lotions also work. To get the proper benefit, work only with pure essential oils, and avoid fragrances that irritate or stimulate.
For decades we have been told that eating a healthy, nutritious diet and getting adequate, regular exercise are critical to good health. But there are three pillars of health, not just two… with sleep being the third.
Sleep is necessary for overall health and well being. It’s not optional and its loss will be felt in any number of ways: mood disruption, insulin resistance, cognitive dysfunction, high blood pressure, even drowsy driving.
Here are 3 ways to embrace and own your sleep as the priority is should be:
Keep a schedule: Go to bed at roughly the same time every night, and rise at roughly the same time every morning. Our circadian rhythms are a complicated system, but this part of it is pretty straightforward. Your body and brain will function at optimum level if you can follow a regular sleep-wake routine.
Exercise in the morning: Studies show that exercise, by itself, can be good or bad for sleep depending on when it happens. Ideally, you should exercise first thing in the morning, even if it’s just a short walk around the block. That blast of first-day sunshine (or even light on an overcast day) is great for circadian health. Not only does it help you establish wakefulness, but morning exercise also leads to better nightly sleep. Its debatable whether exercise right before bed is healthy for sleep, so try to avoid it then, as it may be too stimulating at a time when you should be winding down for the night.
Prepare for sleep like you prepare for work: We place a lot of importance on the morning routine because it helps get us out the door to all that awaits us: school, work, community service, parenthood. If we have a chaotic morning, it’s a sure sign we’ll have a chaotic day, right? The same is true at bedtime: having evening rituals (see above) is far more likely to result in better sleep. That means dimming lights, avoiding stimulating activities, choosing relaxing tasks, practicing self-care (bathing, brushing teeth, setting out clothes), and more.
Want Flawless hair in the morning? Your best bet is to strive for flawless sleep at night. That means:
Everybody has a bedhead style. What’s yours?
Select from the options below. After the poll, visit our Facebook page to share your morning bedhead selfie (tag it with #ASAABedhead); even better, follow these instructions and your selfie might even win you four day passes to Disneyworld!
And don’t forget to pledge to get a little extra sleep in September!