Sleep hygiene represents one of the most important aspects of your health.
Did you know that sleep deprivation can impair your immune system, lower your cognitive abilities, and increase anxiety? Who knew losing sleep could wreak such havoc on our bodies!
The good news is that improving your sleep hygiene can help turn these negative effects around! Read on for 8 steps to improve your sleep hygiene in order to get the restful night’s rest you deserve.
What is Sleep Hygiene?
We see the word hygiene and think of body odor and gum disease, right? So, what exactly is sleep hygiene? And how do we know if it’s good or bad?
Simply put, sleep hygiene means creating a sleep-friendly environment. This means taking care of your bedroom, using it for sleep only, and adhering to a few basic rules.
What is A Sleep-Friendly Environment?
A sleep-friendly environment has three main components: dark, cool, and quiet! If you’re exposing yourself to any light while sleeping (aka your phone screen), it’s likely your room isn’t completely blacked out.
And if there are disruptions in the room, like a heater or noise from outside, you won’t be able to get the best sleep. Your room needs to have darkness and quiet for your body clock to wind down at night!
How Can I Create A Sleep-Friendly Environment?
It’s easy! You can make a few small changes, such as:
- Shutting your bedroom door.
- Using a fan or white noise machine to block out outside noises.
- Turning off your phone at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
What Can I Do If My Sleep Friendly Environment Isn’t Working?
Do you have trouble falling asleep because of stress or anxiety? Do you wake up frequently during the night? These are signs that your sleep hygiene may need a little work.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try practicing mindfulness techniques before bedtime to help calm your mind and body down for the night. Also, be sure to give yourself at least 20 minutes of relaxation time to wind down from a busy day!
Steps To Improve Your Sleep Hygiene:
- Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption at least six hours before bed.
- Create a relaxing environment that is dark, quiet, and cool to promote optimal sleep quality.
- Exercise during the day but not too close to bedtime as this can actually have stimulating effects on your body.
- Don’t eat heavy meals right before bed; if you do, focus on foods that are high in tryptophan (i.e., eggs) which can help promote sleepiness while avoiding sugary and starchy carbs like pasta or bagels because these will simply leave you feeling more awake after eating them.
- Limit your screen time (TV, laptops) at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Be sure to give yourself 20 minutes of relaxation time before bed.
- Remember to practice mindfulness techniques like deep breathing or meditation to calm your mind and body down for the night.
- If the above steps aren’t enough, your doctor may recommend taking melatonin (a hormone that regulates sleep) or practicing cognitive behavioral therapy.
Remember that every person is different so not all of these suggestions will work for everyone. Only take what works for you and your body to get the restful night’s sleep you deserve!