You know you need at least seven hours of sleep per night to be at your best and feel rested, but you’re still struggling to get enough sleep every night. Here are 10 healthy sleep hygiene habits that will help you start sleeping like a baby again and feeling great each morning.
Someone’s sleep hygiene indicates their approach to sleeping habits. Good sleep hygiene is important because a lack of good sleep has implications for mental and physical health, and your quality of life.
A good night’s sleep is determined not just by the night before, but also by the daytime. Certain foods, drinks, schedules, and evening routines may negatively affect how well you sleep.
#1 – Wind down with reading material, not technology
Before bed, avoid all technology (including your cell phone) and read something in print, such as a book. The light from digital devices can have a negative effect on sleeping patterns because it suppresses melatonin production, which is essential for good sleep. Also, avoid alcohol consumption before bedtime as it can interfere with quality sleep.
Electronic devices that emit blue light can trick your brain into being stimulated and make it difficult to fall asleep.
Though you might think that simply not looking at your phone just before bed is enough, it may not be because even if you’re not looking at it, your phone may still be disrupting your sleep.
#2 – Unplug before bed
In our plugged-in world, it can be hard to turn off before bedtime. Our bodies are designed to wind down after sunset, so artificial light at night is not only unnatural, but has been linked to insomnia. If you’re having trouble unwinding before bed, unplug as much as possible an hour or two before your head hits the pillow. And while it might be tempting to use your tablet or phone as an alarm clock, consider getting an old-fashioned device that turns off automatically when it reaches a certain time (there are lots of smartphone apps that do this too). Of course, there are several other habits that contribute to healthy sleep hygiene, including avoiding caffeine in late afternoon and maintaining a regular sleep schedule.
#3 – Eat your last meal at least 2 hours before bedtime
According to WebMD, eating within 2 hours of bedtime can result in acid reflux, indigestion and weight gain. So if you want to get a good night’s sleep, make sure you eat at least 2 hours before your head hits that pillow. The best time to do so is after dinner (your last meal should be consumed no later than 7 p.m.). In fact, you may find that it’s easier to wake up if you avoid eating late at night altogether.
Also, you must limit your caffeine intake before going to bed. Because the effects of caffeine can last up to seven hours, a coffee in the afternoon could keep you awake and alert much longer than you may want.
While it’s always best to limit your caffeine intake to morning hours, everyone’s different tolerance will change this.
#4 – Stick to a relaxing routine
Having a regular, relaxing bedtime routine aids in you calming down and being in the frame of mind to go to sleep. When you go through your routine consistently, your body recognizes when it’s time to go to bed. I may be able to help you fall asleep more quickly.
Sleep better by beginning your bedtime routine 30 to 60 minutes before sleep.
Your routine could include anything that makes you feel relaxed, but don’t forget to limit exposure to blue light.
- What will both comfort you now and cause you to be more sleepy later is taking a warm bath or shower?
- To make the muscles relax and let go of any tension, stretch gently.
- If you have the time, spend a few minutes meditating to get your body and mind calm.
- When in pain, listen to soothing music and practice deep breathing to relax.
- Get a book and sit back, but avoid using devices with screens (e.g. tablets, phones, etc.).
- If you want to remain mentally healthy, try to avoid intense social events or work that challenges you.
#5 – Incorporate some exercise into your day
Maintaining a regimen of about thirty minutes of light exercise a day, such as jogging or brisk walking, not only improves your sleep quality but your overall health. Your routine exercise helps regulate your sleep cycle, so even if you have daylight streaming in from the window, it will have a positive effect.
With that in mind, you can consider indoor exercise just as important as outdoor exercise, even if you are unable to get outdoors.
Doing exercise late in the day isn’t necessarily a good idea. It can make it harder to sleep due to our heightened energy levels and elevated body temperature.
It is important to stretch beforehand or practice yoga if you plan to participate in an activity midday.
#6 – Keep things cool in the bedroom (temperature)
Spending time in a cool, dark, and quiet room before bed may help you fall asleep and stay asleep better.
The optimal bedroom temperature for most people is between 60°F and 67°F (15.6°C and 19.4°C).
It’s also crucial to invest in a comfortable mattress, pillows, and bed linens to ensure you have the perfect environment for getting the sleep you need.
If you have trouble sleeping due to the light, or loud neighbors, earplugs may help you to sleep better.
In addition, if your bedroom gets exposed to too much light, you may want to use blackout curtains or an eye mask to maintain the bedroom’s darkness.
#7 – Curb your stress levels before going to bed
Concerns can stop you from sleeping. So to stop your worries from interfering with your sleep, make sure to keep them to yourself.
Write down your worries before bed so you can relieve them from your head.
Write down how you feel about your to-do list. Start by prioritizing your goals for tomorrow and for the rest of the week, and do your best to de-stress.
Based on the research I read, it would seem that a weighted blanket can have benefits such as helping with anxiety and insomnia, as well as producing effects that are similar to deep pressure therapy.
Meditation helps your mind be at peace before you go to sleep.
#8 – Have a comfortable mattress/pillow/blankets (not too hot, not too cold)
Studies have shown that an uncomfortable sleeping environment can lead to serious sleep issues. Make sure your bedding is just right—you should be comfortable when you’re ready to nod off. If it takes forever for you to fall asleep, or if you wake up and can’t get back to sleep, consider fixing what you’re laying on. A mattress that doesn’t meet your needs, such as being too soft or too firm (not everyone likes medium), might be at fault here. Consider getting a new one. Your pillow is another element of comfort when it comes to sleeping; it also plays a major role in how well you breathe throughout the night.
#9 – Use your bed only for sleep and intimacy (no work or homework)
It may be tempting to sleep in for morning activities like reading, work, talking on the phone, watching TV, or any other activity.
Therefore, your bed should be reserved for sleep and sex in order to train your brain to associate it with sleeping, making it easier to doze off.
The experience of reading may be relaxing for you, but it might not wear you out. In that case, you may want to try reading on the couch before going to bed.
#10 – Take naps if you need them, but not after 3pm
Napping can be an effective way to get over jet lag or simply recharge in between bouts of work. But, you may want to reconsider taking an afternoon snooze, especially if you tend to sleep at night. That’s because it can mess with your biological clock. If you’re trying to fall asleep later that night, napping can alter your circadian rhythm and make it even harder for you to nod off than if you hadn’t taken a nap at all. Additionally, sleep experts don’t recommend catnaps during daylight hours—especially after 3 p.m.—since they could make it more difficult for you to fall asleep when it comes time for bedtime.