As the saying goes, “sleep is the ultimate luxury.” And it’s true – getting a good night’s sleep can do wonders for your physical health, mental wellbeing, and overall quality of life. But unfortunately, many of us struggle to get the rest we need.
Enter sleep hygiene. No, it’s not about washing your sheets or taking a shower before bed (although those things can certainly help). Sleep hygiene refers to a set of habits and practices that promote good sleep quality and quantity.
If you’re ready to prioritize your sleep and start feeling more rested and refreshed, here are seven habits you need to start now:
1. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day (even on weekends) can help regulate your body’s internal clock and make it easier to fall asleep and wake up.
2. Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Whether it’s taking a warm bath, reading a book, or practicing some gentle yoga, having a routine that signals to your body that it’s time to wind down can be incredibly helpful.
3. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. Your sleeping environment plays a big role in how well you sleep. Try to keep your room between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit, use blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out light, and use earplugs or a white noise machine to drown out any noise.
4. Limit your exposure to screens before bed. The blue light emitted by phones, tablets, and computers can disrupt your body’s natural production of melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep. Aim to stop using screens at least an hour before bedtime.
5. Watch what you eat and drink. Heavy meals, caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can all interfere with sleep. It’s best to avoid these substances in the hours leading up to bedtime.
6. Get regular exercise. Regular physical activity can improve sleep quality and help you fall asleep faster. Just make sure to finish your workout at least a few hours before bed, as exercising too close to bedtime can actually make it harder to fall asleep.
7. Manage stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety can make it difficult to relax and fall asleep. Try practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation to help calm your mind and body.
By incorporating these habits into your daily routine, you can create a sleep-friendly environment and set yourself up for restful, restorative sleep. Sweet dreams!