There are many measures you can take in your quest for better sleep hygiene. But why not start small and just adjust the simple things first? Try any or all of these 10 tips below and I believe that it will affect your sleep for the better.
After a long day of doing your stuff, a real good shower is truly needed. It's very likely that you managed to develop some sweat during the day or perhaps you've been in dirty areas or around not so clean people. Are you sure you really want to drag all of this into your precious bed? I hope not, so therefore I recommend you to always take an evening shower. It's much easier for the body to relax in a clean environment without any itches or smells...
Keeping your bedroom cool makes it easier for you to sleep. Instead of having a very warm room and a light cover, try lowering the room temperature while using a warmer cover instead. That way you allow for the body to adjust the temperature itself. You see, if you sleep in a warm room, it is impossible for the body to lower the temperature if it happens to be too hot, but with the other way around, you put your body in control.
Also remember to adjust your temperature setting to find the optimal one for your sleeping needs. It might not necessarily be the same as the temperature you want during the day.
Try to make it as quiet as possible in your room. Any disturbances might wake you up in the middle of the night. This includes turning off your TV and muting your phone. If you suffer from hearing the nearby traffic, then try using the fan as a sound blocker to just create a noise barrier instead. However, if you get annoyed by the fan sound as well, then there's only one option remaining - earplugs.
I thought this was worth making into a bullet point of its own. Quite many of us use the TV as a way to fall asleep almost every night, but unfortunately the benefits are few. It might be very appealing, I know, but sending yourself into your precious relaxation mode with a TV show in the background is like committing sleep hygiene suicide. Your mind will be bombarded with information into the very end of the day, causing problems for you to suddenly relax. And on top of that, if you have the TV on all night, it might cause you to wake up suddenly - Not good for a healthy sleep.
Your bed has to be suitable for you so don't just accept any bed you happen to have. It's worth spending some extra capital on having a really good bed that fits you perfectly. If you don't, then you might suffer from waking up in the middle of the night or having an aching back in the morning.
In the long run, it's just not worth the pain. So do the best you can within your means. And don't forget getting a good pillow and some nice sheets as well that both breathe and are soft.
It's usually not recommended to eat too much before going to bed, but a small snack can improve your ability to easily fall asleep. Plus it will stop you from waking up hungry in the middle of the night.
A banana and a glass of milk are perfect for the purpose in hand since they contain a special amino acid helping your body to settle into sleep. But remember, don't go to bed too hungry or too full - that will only block you from falling asleep.
Don't just keep it cool in your room, but try to get the air to move around as well. This can greatly improve your sleep hygiene and prevent the room from feeling too thick. Just open a window, or if it's too cold outside, use a simple and quiet fan.
I know, I'm sorry to tell you, but two of our most favorite drinks have severe effects on our sleep hygiene. Alcohol will give the illusion of sleeping well, while it in fact messes with your sleep cycles causing you to wake up tired and not fully recovered even after a full night's sleep. But once in a while is of course OK... =)
Coffee is totally fine to drink during your day, but do your best to avoid it when the evening comes close. Since caffeine is meant to give us energy, you might understand that it's not ideal before sleeping. Sleep latency, night waking and not reaching deep sleep are some of the possible effects.
Having a minor ritual before sleeping can actually help you quite a lot. I'm not necessarily talking about reading for 30 minutes, before taking a hot bath and a foot scrub. No, it can be as simple as just taking out the garbage, having a sandwich, brushing your teeth and going to bed. As long as you do it the exact same order and way every single night it will work.
If you have ever seen any athletes on TV before a long jump e.g., then you know what I mean. Each time, they go through the same process in their heads to get themselves into state. In the same way, you want to get into your very own sleeping state.
Studies have shown that if you manage to not move for 15 minutes straight in bed, the likelihood that you will fall asleep is above 95 per cent. So basically, not moving eventually leads to sleeping (unless you're meditating of course...). Therefore try to control your mind to stop all the tossing and turning in bed. It's usually just a mind game anyway where you suddenly feel that a position is uncomfortable. Do all you can to resist and you will be able to fall asleep quickly.
That's the list! Try any of them and give me your comments how they work for you. Also, if you think there are any other really simple tips that you feel are missing, post below. The quest for better sleep hygiene continues =)
Thanks for reading! By Matthew M. McEwan
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