Tips For Bet­ter Sleep Hygiene Have 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

tips for better sleep hygiene 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!

6- Turn Down The Thermostat

Sleep experts agree that your room should be cool, approx­i­mate­ly 60 – 67 degrees (F) or 15 – 18 ©. That is the ide­al tem­per­a­ture for a body at rest. How­ev­er, some people’s “inter­nal fur­nace” runs hot. That’s when you should con­sid­er pur­chas­ing a Cool­ing mat­tress top­per. These lie under the sheets but on top of your mat­tress, and they work won­ders cool­ing you down, so you get the best rest pos­si­ble. Choos­ing to pur­chase a mat­tress top­per is anoth­er excel­lent tool in your good night’s rest kit.

7- Lots Of Fresh Air & Exercise

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.

Wrapping Up

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.  

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