Whether you have been diagnosed with a sleep disorder or not, sleep hygiene is one of the best ways to ensure our overall physical and mental health. Fluff your pillows and smooth the sheets while we break down our top 8 sleep hygiene tips.
1. Leave the Naps to the Cats
We know the afternoon slump all too well ourselves, but trying to limit daytime napping can be a simple way to help start getting your body used to a consistent sleep routine. If you just can’t fight it—we get it—but try to avoid napping after 3:00 p.m. and don’t snooze for more than 20 minutes at a time
2. Find Your Sleep Groove
Speaking of a consistent sleep routine, go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Yes, even on the weekends. This may take a while to work towards, but over time your body will adjust to this new rhythm and reward you with energy and improved physical and mental health.
3. When In Doubt, Get Out
You’re adjusting to your new sleep routine, but you find yourself lying awake in bed for more than 5-10 minutes? Get out of bed and go sit in the dark to let your mind wander or race. Once you start feeling sleepy, get back in bed and try again. Letting our brains think of the bed as a “worrying space” or somewhere we lie down awake will create habits that are difficult to break.
4. Dark, Quiet, & Cool
Where we sleep matters. Try to keep your bedroom three things: dark, quiet, and cool. Light-blocking curtains and sleep masks are great for keeping you in the dark while you sleep, so to speak. Close the door and the curtains, turn on a fan, and consider a set of earplugs to keep your sleep space quiet throughout the night. Set the temperature between 60-67˚ Fahrenheit for the optimal sleep temp to keep you from tossing, turning, and sweating.
5. Minimize Your Vices
Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol each carry their own adverse effects on sleep quality. Try to put down the coffee, tea, and soda after noon and limit (or eliminate fully) alcohol and nicotine intake. This is tricky, as alcohol makes us feel sleepy but is more likely to disturb our sleep cycles.
6. Move Your Body
Regular exercise has been proven to improve sleep quality. However, some people find their sleep disrupted if they exercise too late in the day. Try to get your workout in before 2:00 p.m., but if your schedule won’t allow that, or you simply prefer to exercise at night, only you will know how your sleep is affected so try different times of day until you hit your sweet spot.
7. Screen-Free Zone
For most of us, this might just be the toughest on the list. Make your bed a screen-free zone by not watching TV, using your phone, or reading. Not only are we further teaching our brain and body that the bed is for wakefulness, but the blue light emitted from these screens has been shown to decrease sleep quality.
8. Know When to Seek Treatment
Even those who practice perfect sleep hygiene may be facing an impossible battle, as 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder. Remind yourself that you haven’t failed and seek out a sleep specialist. Our Board Certified team is available by phone at (866) 884-3498, by email at email@example.com, or via live chat in the bottom right corner.