Better Sleep for a Better Day: Improving Sleep Hygiene
Sleep Hygiene can significantly affect your health and overall well-being positively.
Have you ever noticed the difference between the days when you wake up tired and when you wake up fully refreshed? The body feels lighter, the mind feels at peace, and generally, you feel uplifted. It is no secret that a restful night's sleep improves our productivity during the day. Furthermore, a night of uninterrupted sleep can significantly affect your health and overall well-being positively.
Adapting to sleep hygiene practices can promote good sleep quality at night and more alertness during the day. Sleep hygiene involves setting a routine and adopting behaviors that facilitate high-quality, restful sleep. Creating an environment propitious to healthy sleep and allowing yourself enough time to wind down.
Here are some easy steps to include in your evening routine to practice sleep hygiene to improve your rest quality and productivity during the day.
Consistency Is the Key
Setting up a schedule and sticking to it is essential when improving your sleep quality. According to The Sleep Foundation, "Regardless of whether it's a weekday or weekend, try to wake up at the same time since a fluctuating schedule keeps you from getting into a rhythm of consistent sleep." Especially if you are new to practicing sleep hygiene, following the same regime during the weekdays and weekends is highly recommended so that your body clock naturally adjusts to the schedule. And once you get used to it, you won't even require an alarm.
Furthermore, a fixed schedule for sleep also helps with being more organized during the day as it enables you to dedicate balanced hours between work, leisure, and rest. Whereas, sleeping and waking up during odd hours keeps you from getting organized.
Create a Supportive Sleep Environment
Our environment plays an important role neurologically. You would notice when you go to a boot camp or a spinning class that the music is thunderous, and there are props and aesthetics especially designed to boost your adrenalin and motivate you for a high-intensity workout. Similarly, preparing yourself for restful sleep requires a calming and relaxing environment. This will help you neurologically prepare your body for a restful sleep.
Here are some tips for creating a sleep-supportive environment:
Dedicate your bedroom space primarily for sleep and relaxation activities. Avoid working in your bedroom.
Always prepare your bed in the morning, as it sets the tone for the rest of the day. You'll have a ready bed at night time.
Minimize the light and noise in the bedroom and ensure it's dark and quiet at sleep time to avoid getting disturbed.
Ensure your bedroom temperature is optimized for the season and is cool or warm enough for a comfortable sleep.
Invest in comfortable bedding, such as a supportive mattress, good pillows, and a duvet.
Invest in a diffuser that aids relaxation and encourages a sense of calm. It also unblocks airways for better breathing.
Create relaxation rituals such as taking a warm bath or reading a book before bedtime.
Reduce Screen Time
You must have experienced the pleasure of that one more episode on Netflix that made you miss your morning alarm the following day. Living in a tech-savvy age, our phones and tablets have become our third electronic hand. Which is ok for the day, but using electronic devices right before you fall asleep can stimulate your mind and interfere with your sleep.
Allow yourself no screen time at least an hour and a half before bedtime. This will help your mind cool off from the day and wind down naturally by eliminating the stimulants.
No Caffeine After 3:00 pm
This can play a significant role in improving your sleep quality. Of course, there are days when you need an extra cup of cappuccino. Caffeine and sugar can really disrupt your sleep. According to research by The Sleep Doctor, "The volunteers who ate more sugar also took longer to fall asleep. And they experienced more restless sleep, with more frequent awakenings throughout the night".
In general, avoid taking any caffeinated or sugary drinks after 3:00 pm. Furthermore, plan your dinner at least two to three hours before bedtime, so you have enough time to digest your food.
Stress and anxiety have adverse effects on your sleep and overall health. But there is no stress-free life. Learn to manage your stress and find more positive ways to deal with your problems. Develop healthy coping strategies such as mindfulness, breathing techniques, journaling, creating a support system through friends and family, or working with a mental health professional to improve your mental health.
Tip: Practice five minutes of conscious breathing as you wake up before leaving the bed.
Plan Regular Workouts
Exercising regularly is a great way to reduce stress and improve your sleep. Take at least 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times per week to engage in physical activity. This can differ for each individual, depending on your schedule, preference, or fitness level.
However, an intense workout shouldn't be before bedtime, as the high adrenaline will disrupt your sleep.
If you struggle to play sports or go to the gym, add a 30-minute outdoor walk to your routine. Studies have shown that people who engage in evening walks have a three percent higher deep sleep time than those who do not engage in physical activity.
Improved sleep can enable you to become more productive, mindful, and active. Practicing sleep hygiene is a great way to get back to a better sleep for a better day.
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