Bedtime Habits for a Longer Life

Middle-aged couple peacefully sleeping.
People with longevity traits have relatively better sleep quality. (Image: Rido via Dreamstime)

Everybody wishes for good health and longevity. Especially after they hit middle age, people pay more attention to physical health whether by scrutinizing their diet or lifestyle. The habits we build before going to bed are one gateway to staying young. If you can use this time to practice these bedtime habits, it will help you live a longer and healthier life.

Bedtime habits to help you live longer

Soak your feet

We always feel exhausted before bed at night, yet many of us struggle to fall asleep. If we can make some time to soak our feet in hot water, it will relax our mood making it easier to fall asleep. This is great for overall health too. Soaking your feet in hot water can improve the whole body’s blood circulation, dredge the qi, and prevent many diseases, especially for people with cold bodies.

Comb your hair

Before going to bed combing your hair with a wooden comb can help dredge the channels and meridians of your head, relax your brain, and help you sleep. If you use your brain throughout the daytime, combing your hair with a wooden comb is a good habit to get into.

Massage your calves

Bedtime habits such as massaging your calves before bed can help you fall asleep faster.
Bedtime habits such as massaging your calves before bed can help you fall asleep faster. (Image: Iankovskii Ian via Dreamstime)

Massaging the calves before going to bed is another beneficial habit prior to bedtime. Simply rub your hands together to warm them up and massage your calves from the knees down to your feet. Afterward, pat them for a few minutes. This can help your legs generate heat, massage the acupoints in your legs, and keep you fit.

There are also bedtime habits many of us fall into that are better to steer clear of. Keeping these habits at bay will help you get a fuller night’s sleep.

Watching a screen

Watching TV before bed is not good for your quality of sleep.
Watching TV before bed is not good for your quality of sleep. (Image: Andrea De Martin via Dreamstime)

The bedtime habits listed above make for a better sleep environment which of course leads to a better quality of sleep. However these days many people watch television in bed or look at their phones before sleeping. Experts say this is not conducive to a good night’s sleep. The light, and any media content that stimulates emotions, will keep your mind active making it harder to fall asleep.

Taking a hot bath

Many people believe that taking a hot bath or shower right before bedtime assists in sleeping, but on the contrary, it makes it more difficult to fall asleep. A lower temperature of the core body while keeping the hands and feet warm is one of the keys to sleeping well. One study found that the torso temperature of patients with insomnia was higher than that of people who did not experience insomnia.

To lower your core body temperature you can take a hot shower 1.5 to 2 hours before bed to temporarily raise your body temperature. Your body will automatically lower your body temperature, and you will naturally feel sleepy.

Intense physical activity

Moderate exercise is helpful for sleep, but doing strenuous cardio exercises 1 to 2 hours before bedtime will elevate your core body’s temperature and damage your sleep quality even though your body feels fatigued. Traditional Chinese medicine believes: “Sweat is the fluid of the heart.” So vigorous exercise before bed will cause too much sweating, leading to insufficient heart fluid thereby affecting sleep quality.

Translated by Joseph Wu

The writer of this story is not a medical professional, and the information that is in this story has been collected from reliable sources — and every precaution has been taken to ensure its accuracy. The information provided is for general information purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional health care.

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  • David Jirard

    David was born in the Midwestern section of the U.S. during the turbulent sixties. At an early age he took an interest in music and during high school and college played lead guitar for various local bands. After graduating with a B.A. in Psychology, he left the local music scene to work on a road crew installing fiber optic cable on telephone poles in various cities. After having to climb up a rotted pole surrounded by fencing, he turned to the world of I.T. where he now shares laughter with his wife and tends to his beehives in between writing articles on Chinese culture and social issues.