Tips For Better Sleep HygieneHave you ever found yourself tossing and turning in the middle of the night? You’re exhausted, but somehow you just can’t drop off? If so, you’re not alone.Millions of people all over the globe struggle to fall asleep and get a sound sleep. If this happens to you more frequently than you’d like, you need to learn about sleep hygiene.What it is, how to achieve it, and what can help you get a solid night’s rest. Good sleep hygiene enables you to get a consistently good night’s sleep, which is something we all need for physical and emotional good health. In this post, we do a deep dive into sleep hygiene – what is it, and how it helps you achieve a good night’s sleep. It starts with a relaxing routine before you climb into bed and ends with a comfortable, cool mattress that allows you to rest at the right temperature. What else comprises a restful night? Read on!
A Definition Of Sleep Hygiene:
This term includes several factors, but in essence, it refers to healthy sleep habits. For example: going to bed after eating a large meal is definitely not a good sleep habit!Practising good sleep habits is vital for your mental, emotional and physical health. And it is as much about preparing for sleep as it is about sleep itself.
Here Are Some Tips For Prepping Yourself For a Restful, Sound Sleep:
1- Establish a Set Bedtime Routine
We know that sometimes life gets in the way of this. For example, one night, you have a professional engagement you must attend that you know it will run late and keep you out until midnight. However, it’s crucial that you set up a routine before bed and don’t waiver, apart from unavoidable events like that. That includes going to bed at the same time each night, whenever it’s possible. Many studies show that the sleep you get before midnight is the deepest and most restorative. If necessary, head to bed at 10 or 11, but no later.
2- Turn Off Your Devices Well In Advance
This is a big ask, we know, particularly if you’re one of those people who takes their laptop to bed and answers email just before you turn out the light. But this is a habit you’ve got to break! No screens for at least one hour before bedtime are ideal for allowing your brain to wind down and relax. Furthermore, the blue light emitted from phones and other devices can wake you momentarily during the night, interrupting your sleep and wreaking havoc with your slumber.Instead of taking your device to bed to catch up on work, get in bed with a book or magazine. We guarantee you’ll have a more complete, more restful sleep.
3- Cut Back On Caffeine During The Day
If you sip on coffee or tea throughout your day at the office, try cutting your consumption in half to begin with, and refrain from caffeine use for a minimum of 6 hours prior to bedtime. Too much fluid can make you need to get up in the night to use the bathroom, thereby interrupting your sleep. But also, cutting your caffeine intake will make you less jittery and anxious. That means it’ll be easier to relax in the evening, right up until you turn out the light.
4- Create a Soothing Environment In Which To Sleep
As any interior decorator will tell you, soft colours are best for bedrooms, like dove grey, taupe or off white. Bold colours are fine in other rooms where lots of activity takes place, but your bedroom should be decorated like a retreat, a refuge. The softer the palette the less stimulating, and that’s what you want and need in your sleep environment.
5- Have a Warm Bath, Then Meditate
Doing deep breathing exercises is incredibly relaxing before bed, and it takes only 10 minutes or so. Concentrate on letting your shoulders relax, then inhale deeply, exhale completely, and repeat this cycle for at least eight breaths.When we get nervous or excited, our breathing becomes shallow – that’s what you’re combating in this exercise. Sit on the edge of your bed, close your eyes and … you’ll feel more relaxed before you know it!
When the spring comes, and the weather turns mild, many people say that getting outside for exercise seems to help them sleep better. Science says they’re right!Going for a hike, prepping the garden for new plants and flowers, the more time you spend outside fills you with oxygen and gets your blood flowing.This kind of exercise is more beneficial than the indoor workouts we resort to in mid-winter when we have no choice but to stay inside. Of course, any exercise is better than none, but the activity you do outdoors is definitely the best. Whether it’s digging in the vegetable garden or hiking in a conservation area, breathing fresh air and working your body outside is a great way to ensure better quality sleep.Pour your coffee into a portable mug and head out for a walk in a nearby park. Come bedtime; you’ll feel more ready for sleep because you’ll be physically tired.
8- Is It Time For a New Bed?
If you haven’t replaced your bed in more than a decade, it’s time to go shopping! Even the best mattress can’t stand up to years of bodyweight tossing and turning for eight hours each night.If there are two of you, consider that the mattress is working to accommodate several hundreds of pounds. Even if you don’t toss and turn, the mattress will begin to sag after eight or 10 years. You need a mattress that supports your spine.When you do purchase a new one, be sure to try them out first before buying – what’s comfortable when you’re 40 may not be comfortable when you’re 50. It should be firm, and capable of supporting your weight and your spouse’s, for years.
9- Only Use Your Bed For Sleep
Please don’t take your files or laptop into bed with you, thinking that propping yourself up against your headboard will let you finish up a few tasks before bed.If you must take care of some last-minute work, do it at the dining room table or in your home office. Or if you have the space, create a cozy corner in your bedroom with a comfortable chair and a good light overhead. Finish any work that needs doing there, rather than taking it into bed, or better yet, curl up with a good novel.
10- Resist The Urge To Nap
Plenty of studies support this theory: napping actually makes it harder to fall asleep at night. Some people argue that they just can’t get through their day without a quick bit of shuteye, but napping is actually counterproductive.If you’re one of the millions of people who stretch out for 40 winks in the middle of the day, experiment with resisting this impulse. Go for three or four days without napping. We’ll bet you’ll find the quality of your nighttime sleep improves enormously. If you truly can’t stop napping, make it 15 minutes rather than 40 – even this reduction may help you get through the night more soundly.
11- Don’t Snack Late At Night
It’s tough to pass on the potato chips when the family is watching an evening movie on Netflix. However, if you want to establish good sleep habits, try to resist!Eating in the evening forces your body into digestion mode, which may keep you wide awake. It’s better to go to bed a bit hungry and be ready for a good breakfast the following day.
Creating good sleep habits – sleep hygiene, as scientists call it – is the correct route for improving the quality and length of your nighttime rest.Everyone has the occasional fitful night during which they just can’t seem to fall asleep. If that happens, get out of bed, go read for an hour and remember: the odd night of lost sleep is not the end of the world.However, getting solid sleep is vital for physical and emotional health. Try one, two or even all our suggestions, and we think that before you know it, you’ll be regularly sleeping through the night. Each morning you’ll awake feeling refreshed and reinvigorated, ready to tackle whatever challenges the world throws your way.