Sleep hygiene doesn’t have anything to do with how clean or dirty your bed might be. Nope, the term ‘sleep hygiene’ actually refers to a person’s sleep habits and rituals that surround their nighttime routine. If your sleep hygiene is on point, you probably get eight solid hours every night, never hit the snooze button, and wake up feeling rested. Unfortunately, most of us are perpetually exhausted … and our sleep hygiene could definitely use a tune up. Here’s how to get yourself back on the sleep train, without a prescription!
Think of it this way—you’re essentially retraining yourself how to sleep. How would you teach a child or pet about bedtime? With consistency! That means hitting the hay at the same time every night, and being diligent about waking up at the same time every morning, too, even on the weekends.
It’s really important to wake up at the same time every morning, even if you haven’t gotten a solid eight hours of sleep. Yes, for a few days you might feel really tired … but eventually that exhaustion will actually help you maintain your proper sleep schedule.
Make sure you room is dark and cool
Invest in heavy or full-on blackout curtains for your bedroom. Your body’s sleep cycle is controlled by your circadian rhythms, which indicate to your body when it’s time to be awake (during light hours) and when it’s time to sleep (when it’s dark outside). If there’s light in your room, or even external light pollution streaming in through your bedroom windows when you’re trying to fall asleep, your circadian rhythms can be thrown off.
Additionally, it’s important that your room feels comfortable temperature-wise, too. Being too hot can cause you to wake up drenched in sweat, and when you’re too cold your sleep will also likely be interrupted. Studies suggest temperatures between 60 and 67 degrees fahrenheit for best sleep hygiene.
Ditch blue screens at least an hour before bed
Shutdown your computer and iPhone at least an hour before you try to fall asleep. Yes, sometimes it seems totally impossible, but if you’re struggling to fall asleep on a regular basis it’s incredibly important. Research suggests that the blue light from electronics has a huge impact on our bodies’ circadian rhythms, and can seriously throw off our internal clocks. In fact, the blue light from electronics actually inhibits the body’s ability to create melatonin, the hormone that helps us fall and stay asleep.
Find your perfect exercise time
Your daily activity levels have a lot more to do with your sleep hygiene than you might realize! Regular exercise isn’t just important for maintaining a healthy heart and strong body—movement helps to regulate our hormones and energy levels. Getting active every day will likely improve sleep quality simply because you’ll feel more tired. Find a time that works best for you—some people find that working out in the evening energizes them and prevents them from falling asleep when bedtime rolls around, but others love that feeling of full-body exhaustion a few hours before bed.
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