If you’re often feeling tired, cranky, or just not your best self in the morning, it could be for one of two reasons. You may need more sleep, or your sleep hygiene habits are less than stellar. Rest is one of our most important health behaviors. When we restore and repair ourselves, we must have good sleep hygiene habits to ensure quality rest. Sleep hygiene is a term used to describe things you do before bed and while sleeping, that can help with falling asleep quicker and staying asleep longer. If you want to know these great habits, then make sure you read on!
Turn Off Electronic Devices Before You Go To Sleep
This one is a no-brainer. The blue light emitted from electronic devices can suppress melatonin production, which is the hormone that helps you sleep. So, if you’re trying to get some shut-eye, make sure you turn off all your electronics at least an hour before bedtime. It’s best to turn off your gadgets and read a book or something else that doesn’t emit any light. Electronics can also be a huge distraction when you’re trying to sleep, so it’s best to just put them away for the night.
You Don’t Eat A Big Meal Before Bedtime
Eating before bed is probably the absolute worst thing you can do for good sleep hygiene. Food produces stomach acids which your body needs to break down properly, but if you eat right before bed, your body will be working on digestion instead of rest. Try to avoid eating any meals within two hours of bedtime and if you need a snack, stick to something light like a yogurt or a banana. Meals with high-fat content can take up to three hours to digest, so it’s best to avoid those as well.
Keep A Consistent Bedtime Routine
Your body likes consistency, so it’s essential to have a regular bedtime routine. A vital part of this is your pre-sleep ritual – make sure you do the same thing every night before bed, even on weekends. It might be something as simple as brushing your teeth or taking a bath. Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s the same every night so that your body will get used to knowing when it’s time for bed. This will help you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.
Limit Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is a stimulant, so it’s best to avoid drinking it too close to bedtime. It can be tough to break the caffeine habit, but you can do it with a bit of willpower! If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try avoiding caffeine altogether in the afternoon and evening. And if you can’t give up your morning coffee, try to drink it earlier in the day so that it wears off by bedtime. Caffeine stays in your system for up to twelve hours, so be mindful of that when planning your day.
Exercise is a great way to tire yourself out and help you sleep better at night. Just make sure you don’t work out right before bed – give yourself at least a few hours to wind down first. A post-workout shower can help with this as well! Regular exercise will also help regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm, so you’ll find it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Exercise also provides many other health benefits, so it’s something to consider.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol can make you feel sleepy, but it prevents the deeper stages of sleep (REM and slow-wave sleep). So while you might be able to take a quick power nap after drinking too much at night, your sleep quality is still going to suffer. It’s best to avoid alcohol before bedtime or at least limit your intake. Alcohol is also a diuretic, so if you drink too much before bedtime, you might have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
Don’t Stress Before Bed
Stress is something that can keep you up all night, even if you don’t realize it. If possible, try not to stress about things too much right before bed because the build-up of cortisol (the stress hormone) will make it harder for you to fall asleep. Try not to let stress control your life because making a few changes can help with better sleep, which means a healthier, happier you! Stressing less will help you sleep better at night and be more productive throughout the day.
Dehydration can cause fatigue and interfere with your sleep, so it’s essential to drink plenty of water during the day. You might even want to consider drinking some water before bedtime – a glass of cold water can be refreshing and help you fall asleep quicker. Just make sure you don’t drink too much, or you’ll have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
These are just a few good habits that you can practice to improve your sleep hygiene. Remember, everyone is different, but these habits are a great place to start if you’re having trouble sleeping or staying asleep. It might take a little while for them to work, but your body and mind will thank you in the long run! Lastly, consult your doctor if you’re still having trouble sleeping after a week. There might be some underlying medical issue that makes it difficult to sleep at night.