8 Tips on How To Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene is not about how often you clean your beddings or how well you maintain your bedroom. Although this cleanliness is a part of sleep hygiene, it does not cover all of it. In fact sleep hygiene generally refers to the things you do to influence and promote good sleep positively.
Sleep hygiene is purely behavioral and is affected by your habits and your environment. There are some things you may or may not do and some conditions you may or may not set that influence your sleep either to the negative or positive side.
Let’s take a look at the critical dos and don’ts that influence your sleep hygiene.
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- 1 1. Maintain a schedule
- 2 2. Establish a comfortable environment for sound sleep
- 3 3. Develop a Routine
- 4 4. Exercise regularly
- 5 5. Do not watch the clock
- 6 6. Avoid caffeine before bed
- 7 7. Do not stay in bed if you are wide awake
- 8 8. Do not carry your gadgets to bed
- 9 On the matter of literal hygiene
- 10 Final word
1. Maintain a schedule
When you train your body to sleep and wake at certain times, you should expect consistency in your sleeping patterns. This way, your internal clock will be tuned to your schedule. You might be tempted to sleep in on weekends and after a night out, but this will only mess with your hard work and progress you made throughout the week.
Even if you sleep late the previous night, make sure to wake up on time. This way, your body will crave the sleep and force you to make up for the deficit.
2. Establish a comfortable environment for sound sleep
Your bedroom is your sanctuary of sleep and relaxation. Not that you can’t fall asleep elsewhere, but your bedroom is the ideal location for optimum sleep. With the right conditions, you should be able to fall asleep readily. Additionally, you should be able to achieve a constant deep state in such a place.
So what exactly is a comfortable environment, well it is basically a suitable mattress in a relatively cool dark room. Without excess temperatures and bright light to disturb your sleep, you have assured a healthy and rejuvenating session.
Setting up such an environment is as easy as finding the right mattress from providers such as Sit and sleep who make provisions for such needs. A thermostat and appropriate window treatments will work just fine to set up a cold dark room.
3. Develop a Routine
A relaxing routine right before your designated sleeping time helps to ease stress and prepare you for sleep. Doing things like reading or taking a bath promotes drowsiness. Unlike physical activities, a relaxing routine will not stimulate the production of cortisol this way you will be more relaxed and soothed.
This routine should be an hour or so before bedtime. Moreover, you give your body the chance to decompress before bedtime.
4. Exercise regularly
Exercise is a great way to tire your body healthily. Additionally, you will be able to shed off excess body fat and improve some sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea.
Sleep tip: try to schedule your work out sessions long before sleep times. This way, your cortisol hormone levels will not be able to interfere with your intended bedtime.
5. Do not watch the clock
You might choose to place a clock in your room for decorative purposes, but it might end up doing more evil than good. Unlike counting sheep, watching the clock will not induce sleep. In fact, it increases stress and anxiety, the two biggest enemies of sleep.
If you simply can’t give up the charm, the clock adds to your room, place it away from your field of view.
6. Avoid caffeine before bed
Before you start freaking out about a caffeine ban, you only need to give caffeine up before bed. Because of the stimulatory effect caffeine has on the body, it is best that you avoid it all together at night. You can still enjoy your coffee throughout the day, just don’t let your intake stretch to nighttime.
If you are an avid coffee drinker, it might take some significant restraint, but eventually, you will be able to do it.
7. Do not stay in bed if you are wide awake
One of my worst habits is waking up in the middle of the night and proceeding to watch the ceiling until 4 am. This is a horrible way to deal with sleeplessness. If you wake up and can’t fall asleep right away, it is best that you get out of bed and do an exerting exercise such as reading or listening to music.
If you feel inspired, you could play an instrument for a while until you feel sleep coming on.
8. Do not carry your gadgets to bed
This is one of the biggest no-nos of sleep hygiene. It is an unfortunate habit many have developed over time. Phones, laptops, and tablets emit light that not only makes it difficult to sleep but also interrupt your regular REM sleep cycles.
You may not be instantly aware of the damage these gadgets have, but your overall sleep quality will deteriorate. If you have a TV in your bedroom, you may want to install an armoire to encapsulate the device when you’re ready to go to sleep. Falling asleep with these gadgets on is a dangerous sleep affair.
Bonus Tip: you should take advantage of natural light. Unlike light emitted from devices, this light will help you maintain a healthy sleep cycle. Because our bodies operate on a day-night cycle, exposing yourself to this light early in the morning will help stabilize and synchronize your internal clock to a regular sleep-wake cycle.
On the matter of literal hygiene
It is advisable to change your beddings as often as possible and keep away dust and allergens from your sleeping area. Clean bed spaces ensure that you are free from allergens that trigger disruptive allergies.
Allergic reactions do not promote good sleep. A clean, hypoallergenic space will make sure you’re free from watery eyes, a stuffy nose or itchy hives. This way, you can have a more sound sleeping experience.
Maintaining good sleep hygiene is not rocket science. Sure there are several dos and don’ts, but with some hard work and restraint, you can easily achieve these healthy sleeping habits. Once your body gets accustomed to these changes, then you will find them way easier.