Are you lying in bed but can’t sleep? Do you often wake up at night? Do you wake up in the morning without energy, fatigue and irritation?
It’s time to do something about it. If you need to improve your sleep, the first step is to properly set up and adhere to healthy sleep hygiene.
What is sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene is a set of principles (recommendations), the goal of which is one thing – to improve your sleep and, as a result, your overall health. Adherence to the principles of sleep hygiene is the fastest way to better sleep and health in general.
What sleep hygiene includes:
- Ensuring a quality sleeping environment.
- Setting up daily habits that promote healthy sleep.
Principles of sleep hygiene
Everyone can adapt the principles to their needs. So it’s good to try what and how will work for you.
You don’t have to make all the changes at once.
Even small gradual steps will lead you to your goal.
As with all the worthwhile changes, it’s important to persevere!
1. Maintain a regular sleep mode
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day – including weekends and holidays.
This will set your internal clock in the body to a certain regularity.
Falling asleep and waking up will be much easier for you.
In addition, a regular regimen will help you break down drowsiness during the day.
Also, make sure you sleep the recommended number of hours (7-9) each night.
2. Create a bedtime routine
Make the transition between wakefulness and sleep with a pleasant relaxing activity.
The ideal time is 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime.
Make it an evening ritual and observe it every day. Example?
- Take a hot shower or bath. Not only will water have a relaxing effect on you, but your body temperature will also rise. The subsequent drop in body temperature after the bath will cause drowsiness.
- You can also try a few easy stretching exercises that will release tension in your muscles. Light yoga at bedtime may also be appropriate.
- Meditation will help calm your mind. Just a few minutes. Listen to soothing music and focus on your breath.
- Read the book – good old paper.
Avoid stressful and stimulating activities, such as work responsibilities, discussions of important decisions, emotionally tense conversations.
Stressful activities cause the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which is associated with increased alertness.
3. Create the ideal sleeping environment
What should an ideal sleeping room look like?
- Peace and quiet. Remove anything that might disturb you in your sleep. Also try earplugs or a white noise generator if necessary. And what about a pet in bed? If it wakes you up, it’s not good.
- Dark. Try to keep the room as dark as possible. Get impenetrable curtains or other blackout elements. A sleeping mask is also a good helper. Light is a powerful tool that prevents the production of the hormone melatonin, which is important not only for our sleep.
- Temperature. The sleeping room should be a little cooler. The ideal sleeping temperature is somewhere between 15 ° C and 19 ° C (59° F and 66° F). You need to try this and find the optimal one for yourself.
- Comfort. The basis is a good bed. Also, make sure you have a comfortable mattress and suitable pillows. The choice of first-class bed linen is also important. Bed linen, blankets and sheets are the first things your skin comes in contact with.
- Air. Ventilate the room well. Air purifiers will also serve you well. To create a pleasant atmosphere for sleep, try to use a delicate aroma. The study shows that lavender, for example, can calm the mind and smell the room beautifully.
The room where you sleep should be a bit like a cave. Quiet, dark and cold.
Bats – masters of sleep in the animal kingdom – have been using them for centuries.
4. The bedroom is used for only two activities – sleep and sex
Make it a rule. This will strengthen the perception of the bedroom as a place to go to sleep.
Do you have a comfortable bed? It will probably tempt you to watch TV, read, work, make phone calls.
Avoid that. Even reading a book should be moved to the couch or to a comfortable chair.
Remove items such as computers, televisions, or work materials from the room where you sleep.
5. Turn off all electronic devices before going to bed
The screens of telephones, computers, televisions and other electronic devices that are widely used today emit a blue light with which sleep does not make friends.
Blue light disrupts your internal clock (circadian rhythm) – lowers the level of melatonin in your body.
Melatonin is a chemical that controls the sleep and wake cycle.
A drop in melatonin levels can then make it more difficult to fall asleep.
In addition, games, videos, work correspondence, social networks and more keep your brain in constant attention, stimulating it, which is undesirable for you before bed.
On the contrary, you need to calm down, relax, prepare for sleep.
It is therefore important to stop using all electronic devices at least 30-60 minutes before bedtime.
If at all possible, get used to sleeping with the phone out of reach – it is best to leave it in another room.
It is not possible? Then at least turn off the ringtone and vibrate.
It is also good to turn the phone display to the ground.
Do you need your phone to wake you up in the morning? Try a good old alarm clock.
6. Exercise regularly
Even just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day will improve the quality of your sleep.
Will you exercise outside? Great. Natural light helps regulate the sleep cycle.
Will you exercise indoors? Also good. The important thing is that you practice.
Avoid exercising for an hour or two before bed.
This can increase your energy level and body temperature.
As a result, you will fall asleep harder.
If you decide to exercise in the early evening, try stretching or yoga.
If you don’t have time to exercise during the day, at least go for a walk in the evening. With a dog, with a partner, a family member, with anyone.
7. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine before going to bed
Caffeine is a stimulant that will keep you awake.
You can find it, for example, in coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks and some medicines.
Avoid caffeine at least 6-8 hours before bedtime.
Although it is usually best to limit your caffeine intake to the morning, everyone has a different tolerance to caffeine.
Some, in order to fall asleep well in the evening, have to cut themselves off from caffeine earlier, others do not have a problem later.
Alcohol can help you fall asleep more easily, but after a few hours it will start to act as a stimulant.
Alcohol increases the number of awakenings during the night and reduces the overall quality of sleep.
Therefore, avoid drinking alcohol at least 3 hours before bedtime and limit your intake to a maximum of two glasses a day.
Nicotine is not good for sleep either. Smokers should avoid it completely at bedtime.
8. Go to sleep when you are really tired
If you are not really tired, do not lie down.
You will just roll over and you will probably not be able to fall asleep.
If you still can’t sleep after 20 minutes in bed, go to another room and do some quiet activity.
Reading in low light or listening to music are ideal.
Do not turn on the computer, turn on the TV, or use a mobile phone.
Don’t use anything that emits blue light or stimulates your brain.
Do not return to bed until you feel really sleepy.
9. If possible, skip the afternoon napes
Sleep during the day can make evening sleep difficult and cause you to wake up more often during the night.
So if you have trouble falling asleep in the evening, try to skip the afternoon napes completely.
In case you really need to take a nap, try about 20 minutes of short sleep.
This is the time that will give you a short refreshing sleep without entering the deep sleep phase, which begins about 30 minutes after falling asleep.
10. Early dinner and drinks in moderation
Stuffing with pizza with hot peppers at 10 pm is a guaranteed recipe for a sleepless night.
If you need a hearty or voluminous dinner, try to eat it a few hours before falling asleep.
Avoid fatty, spicy, fried and heavy foods that can cause digestive problems.
It takes about 4 hours for your stomach to empty.
Expect to. If you are hungry before bed or during the night, just have a light snack that you know will not disturb your sleep.
The evening supply of fluids should be sufficient so that you do not get thirsty at night, but at the same time so that it does not drive you toilet.
Drink in moderation and, if possible, only soft drinks.
11. Dim the lights after dark
Plenty of natural light during the day is important for the proper running of your internal clock, which maintains the sleep and wake cycle.
As it gets dark outside, the body receives signals that sleep time is approaching.
If you are exposed to bright light from any light sources (lamps, lights in the apartment, computers and other electronic devices) even in the evening after dark, you will decide the correct mode of this internal clock.
As a result, you will fall asleep harder and your sleep will not be as good.
In the evening, use dipped headlights and avoid electronic devices if possible.
It is a good way to relax and prepare the body for a refreshing sleep
12. Get rid of stress before going to bed
Easy to consult, worse to perform. Try it anyway.
- Before going to bed, don’t think about the things that bother you.
- If you still have to think about them, try to write them down and put them aside for the next day, it will help you get them out of your head.
- Research shows that some anti-stress blankets can help with anxiety and insomnia.
- Before going to bed, try to relax with a short meditation.
As you can see, sleep hygiene is all about good sleep habits. Everything you do and don’t do during the day ultimately affects how well you sleep.
You don’t have to invest too much money in most of the mentioned recommendations and you can start with them right away.