Sleep is a critical part of our lives. In fact, sleep helps to optimize nearly every aspect of the body’s functions. It affects our physical and mental health, our ability to develop immunity and fight disease, our metabolism, chronic disease risk and so much more. As a result of the vital role sleep plays in our lives, we mustn’t get only enough sleep, but quality sleep. For those of us who have trouble sleeping and settling down at the end of the day, considering some sleep hygiene practices may be beneficial. Sleep hygiene is a daily and nightly method that we can use to create ideal sleep conditions for a solid night’s rest.
- Set a consistent bedtime and wake time
Use your phone to set a scheduled bedtime reminder and morning alarm. This helps your internal clock to expect to rest and wake at a consistent time each day.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine
– Sleep music (Nature sounds, spa sounds, etc.)
– Read a book
– Enjoy a warm shower or bath
– Sleep meditation
– Deep breathing exercises
- Create your bedroom oasis
– Sleep in a cool, dark room
– Sleep on a mattress that suits you
– Use comfortable Pillows
– Salt lamps for ambiance and low light before bed
– Diffuse calming essential oils such as lavender before bed
Avoiding blue light is important before bedtime. Try to turn off TV’s, computers and phones at least one hour before bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine later in the day
Refrain from consuming caffeine 5-6 hours before bedtime. This includes drinks/foods like coffee, caffeinated herbal teas and even chocolate.
- Avoid heavy meals before bedtime
Sleeping after a heavy meal makes digestion difficult, causing indigestion and reflux for some.
- Avoid alcohol before bedtime
While alcohol may initially make you sleepy, drinking can lead to lighter, more restless sleep, diminishing sleep depth and quality.
- Using your bedroom for your sleep and sex
Using your bed for only sleep and sex will help to train your brain that the bedroom is just meant for rest.
- Avoid long naps (20 mins or less)
Napping too long or too often can cause you to go to bed later than usual, affecting your circadian rhythm and overall sleep/wake cycle.
- Less carbohydrates at night
Spikes in blood sugar at bedtime can result in difficulty falling asleep and overall disrupted sleep throughout the night.