Sleep hygiene is a concept often overlooked but it is an important factor in determining the quality of our sleep. Simply put, it consists of implementing good habits throughout your day that ensure a peaceful, rejuvenating sleep. These habits can include everything from the amount of exercise you do to the timing of your meals. The better your daily habits are the better your sleep will be. We’ve done our research and we would like to give you some simple yet effective pointers on how to make the most of your sleep.
You Snooze You…
You guessed it. You snooze you lose. Especially when it comes to naps. It’s been proven that any nap over 30 minutes long and after 3 o’clock in the afternoon can have a massive hindrance on the quality of your upcoming nighttime sleep. However, anything below that 30 minute mark will improve your mood, alertness and even your performance. A nap also doesn’t make up for a lack of sleep the night before, so it’s best to try to avoid long ones and instead maintain a healthy routine.
Get Out & About
One of the more obvious ways to improve your sleep hygiene is to get out and exercise. It doesn’t have to be a strenuous session either; as little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise during the day can improve your sleep. It’s also important to bear in mind that earlier workouts work best for most people. Anything too close to bed time can make it difficult to unwind and achieve a peaceful sleep. Natural light also plays a major role in the quality of your sleep as it assists your body clock in recognising what’s coming next, so be sure to get out and about during the day!
Avoid the Evening Rush
We’ve all fallen victim to this one. Whether it’s a late night cup of coffee, a bar of chocolate or a night cap, stimulants too close to bed time can make it incredibly difficult to get a good nights sleep. This comes down to the fact that your body will slowly process a stimulant like alcohol, making quality sleep harder to achieve. If you are in the mood for a hot drink however, a warm glass of milk contains an amino acid that will slowly induce sleep.
Stick to the Routine
When we say routine we don’t just mean your bed time routine. Routine includes your entire day. Sure, it begins with what time you get up and ends with what time you go to bed, but in between it’s important to maintain some kind of structure to allow your body to prepare for what’s next. This may include your meal times, whether you go to the gym or not and also the time at which you begin to unwind, so it’s important to develop a routine that works best for you. Reading a book or hopping into bed in your dimly lit, cool bedroom can also help initiate the sleeping process. Over time, it will become a routine and a habit that will enhance your sleep.
As we briefly mentioned above, your routine can include hopping into bed in your dimly lit, cool bedroom. These factors are also part of your sleeping environment. It’s much easier to fall asleep and wake feeling fully rejuvenated if you turn the lights down, light a scented candle and set a cool temperature before bed time. Your mattress should also suit your individual needs so make sure it’s serving you well. On a final note, if external noises such as dogs barking interrupt your sleep, invest in a pair of ear plugs to block out the distractions!