What is Sleep Hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is the routine and habits you set for yourself at bedtime. Sleep is more important to human life than most people realize. Sure, we know we need sleep to stay active, but few people understand how much proper sleep affects the rest of your life.
There is nothing like a full night's rest. If you have a big job the next day, the first thing you know you have to do is get a good night's sleep. When you do not feel well, the first instinct is to go to bed. If you get a lot of consistent sleep, you are more likely to avoid viruses. Proper sleep enhances mental clarity. A full 7 to 9 hours of sleep helps us heal in mind and body.
Insomnia occurs when you cannot sleep, or don't sleep enough. Much like pregnancy, the sleep cycle must be comprised of all stages to be successful. Sleeping only a few hours a day will leave you feeling groggy, emotional, and sluggish.
Insomnia is most often a product of thought. Most successful treatments for insomnia are over 20 years old because they tackle this most basic cause of insomnia. Sleep hygiene incorporates behavioral and environmental changes to promote a healthy sleep schedule.
Combine these good sleep tips to form a routine that will have you sleeping like a baby every night.
Optimize Your Bed for Good Sleep
Outfit your bed in comfortable sheets and bedding. Choose sheets that have thermal control to help regulate your body temperature as you sleep. Adding an egg crate or feather mattress on top of your bed can help eliminate issues from bumps and bulging springs if a new one is not in the cards at present.
Turn Your Bedroom into a Sleep Chamber
Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep. It should be relaxing and free of clutter. Keep the window shades drawn and all electronic light sources to a minimum. The bedroom should be reserved for sleep and sex only. Figuring out your weekly budget or planning the week's activities are activities for the kitchen table. Keep your bedroom a place where your mind and body know they can relax.
Set Your Alarm
It is important to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day to help your internal clock stay on track. Even on the weekends, it is important to keep the same sleep/wake schedule. A couple of days of 10 or more hours of sleep will disrupt the natural cycle and you'll feel like you had no sleep at all.
Taking long naps during the day can also give you more sleep than you need. A 30-minute catnap can be invigorating, but anything longer and you run the risk of feeling lethargic for the rest of the day.
Pay Attention to Your Eating Habits
Eating a big meal just a few hours before bed is a big mistake. Bloating and discomfort can keep you awake. Spicy food, in particular, can wreak havoc inside your body causing pain and indigestion while you are trying to sleep.
Alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine all stimulate your body and can disrupt your sleep. Many people think alcohol can help them sleep when in fact it has the opposite effect. It has a calming effect at first but then acts as a stimulant later, waking you up.
Creating solid, healthy sleep hygiene routines is the basis for a good night's sleep no matter what is keeping you up. Even the smallest steps in the right direction can have a big impact on the quality of your sleep.