This week I’m going to be talking about sleep. It’s so important, and yet so many of us either don’t get enough sleep, having trouble falling asleep and/ or don’t get refreshing sleep. Later in the week I’m going to be introducing a couple of new sleep solutions, but for now, let’s review the importance of practicing good sleep hygiene.
What is it?
Sleep hygiene consists of good habits designed to help you get the best sleep possible! It will reduce difficulty falling asleep, the amount you wake at night, and will make you feel rested upon waking. Good sleep isn’t always going to come naturally – sometimes you have to take deliberate steps to try to help yourself.
STEPS TO FOLLOW:
Be refreshed! – Sleep only as much as needed to feel refreshed during the following day. Restricting time in bed solidifies sleep, and excessively long times in bed lead to fragmented and shallow sleep.
Set a schedule – try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time every morning. If you find yourself unable to fall asleep within 20min, get out of bed and do a calming activity such as meditation until you are ready to get back to bed.
Avoid stimulants – Avoid alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and sugar before bed. These substances can all alter your natural sleep rhythm, as well as affecting the quality of sleep.
Sleeping only – Save your bed for sleeping. Avoid doing other activities like watching TV or being on your computer when you are in bed.
Limit naps – Napping throughout the day can make it harder to fall asleep at night. If you absolutely need one, try to have it before 3pm and for less than an hour. Twenty minutes is ideal!
Eat right – Limiting heavy meals to at least 3 hours before bedtime will let you fall asleep without an uncomfortably full belly. if you are going to snack before bed make it light and add a protein source to help stabilize your blood sugar.
Avoid excessive liquids in the evening – This will minimize the need for nighttime trips to the bathroom.
Make a restful environment – Block out all sources of light, keep electronics at least 10ft away from the bed to minimize EMF exposure..
Learn and practice relaxation techniques – being able to lie in bed and deliberately relax your muscles and help the days tension slip away can be very helpful for both falling asleep, and getting a more sound sleep because you’re not tossing and turning worrying about things.
Practicing good sleep hygiene can mean just that – practicing. It can take time to rework habits that may have been formed over years. I would suggest just trying things little by little – but the payoff can be so important for your overall health.