If you’re focusing on your health this year (and you should be!) you might have been thinking about improving your sleep. It’s easy to want better sleep, but it can seem difficult to actually do. It’s actually easy to do, as long as you have the right habits in place and you stick to them. So let’s make 2018 the year of good sleep!
What is sleep hygiene?
Despite how it sounds, it’s not dependent on you having a shower before you slide into the sheets! Sleep hygiene refers to a set of best practices, habits and environments that aid you in getting better sleep.
Why is sleep important?
There are so many good reasons why sleep is important to your health, it’s impossible to list all of them here. There’s a reason your body feels so shut down when you’re sleep deprived! Good sleep not only restores your energy levels, it also reduces stress and allows your body time to heal. It’s not just bodily functions either – sleep allows your brain to catalogue all your experiences throughout the day, to assimilate information and improve your memory!
Sleep hygiene tips
- Try to set a bedtime and stick to it. Obviously, this is difficult if you work shifts, but as much as you can try setting a specific time and going to sleep at that time every night. Although it might be difficult at first, eventually your sleep cycle will sync and you’ll find it super easy to fall asleep and wake up!
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. For at least 4 – 6 hours before you go to sleep, avoid these 3 things. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, which will prevent you from falling asleep You might think a nightcap helps you doze off, but alcohol actually disrupts your sleep – if you want to be lights out all night long, lay off the nightly glass of wine!
- Exercise regularly. This seems obvious, and it should be! If you tire your body out during the day with exercise, by the time bedtime rolls around you’ll be asleep in no time!
- Create a nightly bedtime ritual. Keep to this ritual every night and use it to wind down and relax your body so you’re ready to hit the hay. What works best is different for everyone, so think about what relaxes you before setting up your ritual. Good options are dimming the lights, listening to relaxing music, taking a bath or reading a book.
- Keep your bed for sleep or sex only. Try not to spend time chilling out in bed during the day, be it on your laptop or reading a book. Keeping your bed as a sleep-only zone means your brain will easily start to associate it with sleep, relaxing you before you even get in!
- Invest in a comfortable mattress, pillows and sheets. If you’ve ever upgraded any of these, you’ll understand just how much of a difference it makes to your sleep quality. A supportive mattress like Leesa’s full size mattress and breathable sheets will ensure your body stays cool and supported – no more aches or waking up sweaty! As a benchmark, a good mattress should last you around 9 years.
- Keep your room dark and cool. Too much light can mess up your circadian rhythm, which is your body’s way of telling you when to fall asleep and wake up. Try investing in some black-out blinds or curtains if you have lots of windows in your bedroom. Although most people want to be toasty warm when they go to sleep, your body actually feels sleepy as your body temperature drops! Keeping your room cool aids this process and also keeps your body cool during sleep and ensures you sleep straight through the night.
- Keep your room quiet. Sudden or constant loud noises are likely to jolt you out of sleep, which is definitely not something you want. If you live in a city or just have noisy neighbours, try a fan or even a white noise machine. The rhythmic constant sounds will drown out any unwanted noise, but still allow your body to relax into sleep.
- Keep your alarm clock away from your bed. Often the worst part of waking up in the morning is actually taking that first step out of bed. Keeping your alarm out of arm’s reach means you’ll actually have to leave your cosy den to turn it off. Once you’re out of bed, you can’t just hit snooze and roll over – you’re already up, and that’ s half the battle!
In conclusion, keep your bedtime and bedroom relaxing, and avoid anything stimulating too close to when you hit the hay. Make 2018 the year you get the best sleep of your life!
Let us know your best bedtime routines in the comments below.