A good night’s sleep is vital for our survival, and proper sleep hygiene can help you get the Zs you need. I spend my nights listening to my husband snoring, with a cat on my chest, and half way through the night my 5-year-old catapults herself into my bed and moves around like she is competing on “Dancing with the Stars.” Whatever your story is, a good night’s sleep is sometimes hard to get.
Sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices to help us get the best night’s sleep and full daytime alertness. Some best practices are as follows:
- Avoid napping during the day. Napping disrupts our normal sleep pattern a night.
- Avoid staring at bright lights such as a smart phone or tablet before bed. Some devices have a “night shift” mode that decreases the brightness of the phone or tablet at a set time.
- Make sure you have a good exposure to natural light. This exposure helps regulate your “sleep-wake cycle.”
- Reading emails or social media before bed can keep the brain active and not allow it to rest properly.
- Large meals before bed can disrupt sleep, and if you’re having sleeping problems, that is not the best time to start trying new foods.
- Avoid caffeine, especially at night before bed. Sometimes a warm drink, such as decaffeinated hot tea, can help you calm yourself before sleep.
- Proper exercise can help promote a good sleep cycle. Engage in vigorous exercise during the day and calming exercise like yoga at night as a pre-bedtime routine.
- Create a calming bedtime routine, leaving negativity behind and out of the bedroom. Your bed should only be associated with sleep and be a pleasant and comfortable nightly retreat.
- Remove triggers in the bedroom that cause you to wake up or stop you from sleeping.
When we establish proper sleep hygiene, we are going to sleep better. The better we rest, the more alert and ready we are for the next day. Sleep is important for proper health, so take the time out every night and give yourself what you deserve—a good night’s sleep.