Your guide to sleep hygiene
You’ve had a long day and you climb into your cosy bed. Is it always as peaceful as you imagine it should be? Are you tossing and turning, and waking up in the early hours in discomfort? Then this guide to help you, because sleep hygiene is linked to a good night of sleep.
What is sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is a term used to describe sleep habits, and covers a broad spectrum of activities you can use to help you sleep.
Sleep hygiene is not the form of being physically clean before you go to bed, or making sure your bedding is washed. It’s much more about the routine you put in place before you go to bed, to tell your body it’s time to wind down. An effective sleep hygiene routine can transform how quickly you fall asleep and how long you stay snoozing for.
Benefits of sleep hygiene
Sleep is vitally important. But it isn’t just about how long you sleep, but how well you sleep. Your body takes time when you’re asleep to restore and heal. Good sleep also:
- strengthens the immune system
- helps maintain a healthy weight
- lowers the risk of negative health conditions
- improves your mood
- improves your memory.
So you see, good sleep will impact every single part of your life, from how well you feel mentally and physically, to how you perform at work. We don’t have to tell you the consequences of letting these things slip. Our lives are an intricate web of cause and effect, and when one thing crumbles, it impacts other things.
There are many tips for good sleep hygiene and we’ll go into those, but here are our quick win tips. If you want to get your body used to sleep cues, try:
- washing your face
- brushing your teeth
- bathing with warm water.
Sleep hygiene tips
If you want good sleep hygiene, you do the following things:
● Schedule/ Routine
The first thing you need to do is think about your routine; what time you should be going to bed each night, for example. From there you can work out which of our sleep hygiene processes you want to incorporate into your schedule an hour or so before, to let your body know it’s time to go to sleep.
Going to sleep at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning lets your body know what you expect of it and stops it from feeling stressed. By doing this, you’re essentially regulating your body clock, and letting it know what you expect of it.
You might be tempted to have a few extra hours of sleep in the morning on a weekend, but we would recommend you try not to do this. You will not be able to make up for sleep you deprived yourself of during the week, so getting into a routine where you can have a solid eight hours is probably the most effective way of transforming your sleeping patterns.
● Add relaxing things to your sleep routine
Next, it’s time to think about other things you can add to your sleep schedule to help you relax in advance of bedtime. These should be things you can do every single night without fail, and could include:
- taking a warm bath
- reading a book
- listening to sleep assistant music/ podcasts
- listening to nature sounds.
● Create a sanctuary
Creating a tidy and healthy space is very important, and will help you with your sleep hygiene. Having a neat bedroom that you enjoy being in is going to encourage you to go to bed. If there’s one room you should keep spick-and-span, we absolutely should be prioritising the bedroom. You should also:
- Keep your bedroom a cool temperature. Studies say the optimal bedroom temperature is around 65 degrees fahrenheit.
- Keep your bedroom noise free. If your partner wants to watch YouTube, kick them out.
- Keep your room dark. A dark room causes the brain to produce a hormone called melatonin and helps you feel sleepy.
● Only try to sleep when you feel sleepy
You might need to forfeit this rule at first to get yourself into your new sleep routine, but after that, you should only try to sleep when you feel tired. If you wake in the night and are tossing and turning, don’t try for longer than twenty minutes. Instead, get up and try sitting in the dark with a small lamp on, in a quiet space, and avoid interesting and stimulating things until you feel sleepy again.
● Re-associate your bed
You should only associate your bed with sleeping. We’re huge advocates of the ‘no TV in the bedroom rule’. If your brain has started to associate your bed with doing stimulating things like watching television, how can you expect it to know it’s time to sleep when you get in it.
As stated above, you should get out of your bed if you don’t feel sleepy and do something else.
Whatever you do, do not pick up your phone and start scrolling. The blue light your screen emits is the worst thing you can look at when you want to go to sleep. It will wake you up.
Exercise is absolutely fabulous for aiding good sleep. We’re not talking about exhausting yourself here, but incorporating an exercise you enjoy into your daily routine. We suggest about four hours before bedtime. Walking in the morning has also been shown to be a great way to start the day refreshed and revitalised.
If you’re struggling falling asleep or waking up, or if you’re feeling tired throughout the day, a good sleep hygiene plan can overhaul your sleeping patterns. Get started today, give your body a really good amount of time to get used to it, and we’re sure you’ll be drifting quickly off to snoozeville in no time.
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