Many of us underestimate the power of a great night’s sleep. We also think that our regular sleeping patterns work just fine, but the truth is that we don’t achieve the highest quality sleep we can. A great night’s sleep is beneficial for both your physical and mental health, so that’s why it’s important to work on your sleep hygiene. This may mean having to swap out your old habits for new ones but by doing so, you’ll soon see how it positively alters your productivity and overall quality of life. To help you achieve a greater level of sleep hygiene starting tonight, we’ve compiled a list of tips for you to follow. By slowly introducing each of these into your life, you’ll discover how much more you get from your sleep and your life in general.
Don’t Get Caught Napping
Almost everyone loves a nap. You get tucked up in your favourite blanket and after a short siesta, you feel refreshed and ready for the rest of the day. Naps help to improve your mood, alertness and overall performance, but quite often a quick nap can turn into a 1 or 2 hour snooze. It’s important to limit your nap time to 30 minutes and do so before 3 pm because if you leave it later and nap for longer, your nighttime sleep will suffer.
Your Sleeping Environment
The need to set up a suitable sleeping environment is often ignored. Most of us are happy to leave the lights on until we nod off or leave the heater on because we think it’s going to be cold. However, the ideal environment should be quiet, dark and cool. Dim the lights before you settle in for the night and light a scented candle to create a more relaxing bedroom. You also need to make sure that your bedding is suitable, so make sure you have the correct pillow, mattress and duvet set to make your sleep as comforting and supportive as possible.
Exercise plays a major role in determining the quality of your sleep. As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise helps improve sleep and the earlier you exercise, the better. However, you’re evening trip to the gym works too, just make sure to give yourself 3 hours in between the session and your sleep or you may be too energetic going to bed. Getting your exercise in during the day will promote continuous sleep through the night and leave you feeling fit and fresh the next morning.
Caffeine, Late Meals & TV
Despite the fact we all love a hot cup of coffee in the morning, its caffeine is highly detrimental to your sleep. Having a coffee or a stimulant drink up to 6 hours before bed will make it harder to nod off because your brain will be wired and you’ll have too much energy to burn off. Late meals also effect your sleep so finish your dinner at least 4 hours before bed. In the case where you find yourself too hungry going to bed, snack on something that you know won’t negatively effect your sleep. The use of your phone, laptop or TV too close to bedtime also reduces the chances of you nodding off as the flickering light and information being processed is too much for your brain to take in so late in the evening.
Develop a bedtime routine. Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time and you’ll notice how your body and mind quickly adapt. You begin to create a routine and before you know it you automatically feel yourself being pulled into bed to keep in line with your sleeping plan. Roughly an hour before you go to bed, regulate the room temperature and dim the lights. Get into bed 5 or 10 minutes before you plan to nod off, and implement this routine nightly. You’ll soon reap the benefits and find how a sleeping routine can positively impact your daily life.
Only Sleep When You’re Actually Tired
Going to bed with a build up of energy leads to frustration. You find yourself twisting and turning and thinking too much about what happened during your day. The problem is that most of us go to bed before we’re actually tired. If you don’t sleep after 20 minutes it’s best to get up and do something that will help you fall asleep, such as light reading or listening to music. Even just getting up and taking a potter around your house or sitting in another room for a short period will help induce sleep.
- Limit your nap time to 30 minutes and only nap before 3 pm.
- Dim the lights and regulate the bedroom temperature for a better sleeping environment.
- Exercise each day. A short aerobic or cardio session greatly improves sleep.
- Reduce your intake of caffeine and avoid late meals. Turn off the TV and leave your phone alone as they disrupt the initiation of sleep.
- Develop a bedtime routine and stick to it each night. It will greatly benefit your overall performance.
- Only go to bed when you’re actually tired. Otherwise, you will be restless and frustrated.