Sleep is essential for our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Quality sleep is just as important as quantity, but many of us struggle to get the restful, restorative sleep we need. While there are many factors that can contribute to a lack of quality sleep, making small changes to your sleep hygiene can have a big impact on the length and quality of your sleep. Here are 7 simple sleep hygiene tips to help you get better rest.
Set a consistent bedtime
For many people, having a consistent bedtime can help them sleep better. Having a set bedtime can help you get into a sleep routine and establish a regular pattern of sleep. Establishing a regular bedtime can also help you get to sleep faster once you’ve gone to bed. That being said, don’t feel like you have to go to bed at the same time every night. If you’re really tired one day, go to bed early. If you’re not tired, try to hold out until your normal bedtime.
Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet
The bedroom should be a place of rest, so it’s important to make sure that it is as dark, quiet, and cool as possible. This can help you to relax and get into a restful state of mind before going to bed. For example, keeping your bedroom free of noise pollution can help you to get a better night’s sleep. If you live in a noisy area, consider wearing earplugs or investing in a soundproofing device like a sound machine or white noise machine. You can also create a soundproofing barrier by putting up extra curtains and drapes, or by putting a rug on the floor underneath a noisy bed. Similarly, keeping your bedroom cool can help you to relax and fall asleep faster. Try to keep the temperature between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have trouble falling asleep because you’re too hot, try using a fan to keep your bedroom cool. Alternatively, you may prefer to use a cooling pillow or a cooling blanket to stay cool while you sleep.
Avoid screens and blue light before bedtime
Screens like computers, smartphones, and TVs emit blue light, which has been shown to disturb sleep and contribute to insomnia. Avoid screens and blue light before bedtime to avoid disrupting your sleep. Alternatively, you can use apps like f.lux or Iris that can help to reduce the amount of blue light emitted by your screens. If you have a smart LED lighting system in your home, you can also program the lights in your bedroom to create a more restful environment.
Regular exercise is a wonderful sleep aid. It helps to stimulate the production of endorphins, which can help to reduce your stress level and make you feel happier, more relaxed, and less anxious. Regular exercise can also help to improve your sleep quality by increasing your melatonin levels and helping you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. While exercise is a great sleep aid, you should avoid exercising too late in the day. Opt for an early evening workout, or if you just can’t fit a workout into your day, try to exercise at least 3 to 4 hours before you plan to go to bed. Similarly, avoid exercising near bedtime as it can stimulate your body and mind and make it harder to fall asleep.
Limit caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine
Having a cup of coffee in the morning or a drink in the evening is fine, but having caffeine too close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep. Alcohol can also make it harder to fall asleep and can disrupt your sleep architecture (the stages of sleep your body goes through when you sleep), leading to less restful sleep. Similarly, nicotine has been shown to disrupt sleep, especially stages 3 and 4 of the sleep cycle (the most restorative stages of sleep), making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Nicotine also raises your blood pressure and heart rate, which can make it harder to fall asleep. If you have trouble sleeping, consider limiting or eliminating caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine in the hours before bedtime.
Avoid eating late at night
Eating too close to bedtime can lead to indigestion and make it harder to fall asleep. If you must eat late at night, try to eat light or avoid foods that are high in fat or fiber. Try to avoid eating within 2 hours of your bedtime. Similarly, avoid consuming large meals close to bedtime even if they are light. Having a large meal too soon before bedtime can cause you to wake up feeling uncomfortably full or even nauseated.
Make your bedroom a technology-free zone
Finally, it’s important to keep your bedroom a technology-free zone. This means that you should avoid using any of your devices in the hours leading up to bedtime. Ideally, you should try to keep your bedroom a technology-free zone all night long. If you need your devices, try to keep them out of the bedroom and use them in another room. It takes a lot of effort and discipline to create a healthy sleep environment and develop good sleep hygiene habits. However, the benefits of doing so are immense. If you make these small changes to your sleep hygiene, you can greatly increase your chances of getting better rest and living a happier, healthier, and more productive life.