Humans sleep approximately one-third of their lives. The human body requires a long period of sleep in order to facilitate memory transfer from short term to long term, grow muscle, repair tissue, synthesize hormones and to rejuvenate. The quality of sleep greatly impacts these functions which is why it is important to practice good sleep hygiene and build a night routine that works best for you. Most adults need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night to ensure maximum benefit.
Sleep Hygiene refers to the practice of building habits that help you to have a good night's sleep. Often sleeping issues like insomnia are a result of bad bedtime habits that have accumulated over the years. by following a few simple principles you can start having a better nights sleep by tonight!
- Listen to your body
If you are tired then you should sleep, if you are not tired you should not sleep. Sounds pretty simple! Although this may be harder in practice listening to your body is so important as it knows exactly what you need. If you keep forcing yourself to stay awake to 'watch one more episode' or 'send this last email' you are hurting your body's natural sleep rhythms. This also means that if you wake up before your alarm, within a reasonable hour, you should get up and start your day. Your body has told you it has enough sleep and is ready to go.
Experts also say that you should try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. This may take some experimenting to figure out the best time to go to sleep so that you are actually tired and also will get the right amount of sleep before you need to wake up. But if the experiment is successful you might not even need your alarm anymore!
- Create the right environment
In order to sleep properly your room should be set up with the following:
• Dark curtains
• Ambient temperature set to 20 degrees Celsius
• All distracting objects removed from the room, such as cellphones, blinking lights or items that might make noise (unfortunately this can include pets)
• Comfortable bed, pillow, and blankets
• Pleasant scent, keep your room clean and try a relaxing scented candle
- Dedicate your bed for sleep
If you often use your bed as an alternate 'office' or tv room your brain will start associating your bed with other daytime activities. If you reserve your bed just for sleep your body will start to recognize that being in bed means it is time to relax and to sleep.
- Limit Screen Time
Turn off the television and turn off your phone about an hour before bedtime. The lights from televisions and other electronic devices can affect your natural triggers for sleep. Try reading a book in bed or meditating instead.
- Maintain a healthy waking lifestyle
Reduce your afternoon caffeine (or eliminate caffeine entirely after 2 pm), and exercise regularly. Even 10 minutes a day is proven to help improve your sleep
- Have a relaxing evening routine
Get yourself into a relaxed state of mind by having a calming bedtime routine. Make some chamomile tea and read a book while doing a face mask. Do some light yoga or meditation before settling down for the night. These things will help quiet your mind and the more regular you follow your routine your body will get used to the relaxation and ease you into sleep
Although it sounds simple it can be difficult with all the distractions we have. We encourage you to try out a few of these tonight and see how they work. Then introduce a few more ideas each night until you come up with a plan that works best for you!
Good luck and sweet dreams!