How To Improve Sleep Hygiene
Do you often find yourself waking up more tired than you were when you went to sleep? Do you struggle to keep your stamina at adequate levels during the day? There are dozens of things that could exhaust you, but one of the most frequent is poor sleep hygiene.
If this concept is new to you, know that sleep hygiene refers to habits and practices that give you restful nighttime sleep and daytime alertness.
Now, if you want to uncover the secrets to feeling full of energy day after day, here are 10 ways to improve your sleep hygiene.
1. Figure Out How Much Sleep You Need
Guidebooks say adults need an average of 7 hours of sleep each night. The truth is that every individual is different. Some feel full of energy after a 5-hour sleep, whereas some people may barely keep their eyes open after eight hours.
To figure out how much sleep you need, start with setting your alarm to seven hours after you went to bed. If you wake up earlier and feel good, you need a shorter sleep cycle. If you still feel tired after 7 hours, work your way up by adding an hour of sleep until you feel rested.
Keep in mind though that you shouldn’t need more than 9 hours of sleep per night; if you do, you should consult a sleep specialist.
2. Time Your Workouts Right
Early working hours may determine you to postpone your workout sessions until the evening. However, exercise before bedtime could interfere with your sleep, keeping you awake for longer.
If there is really no way to exercise in the morning, schedule your training at no later than three hours before going to bed.
3. Limit Daytime Naps
A midday nap can easily boost your levels of energy and make you more alert in the afternoon. This is particularly true if you take a regenerating nap right after lunch. While short sleep sessions in the middle of the day are a good habit, long naps are actually bad.
If you don’t want to give up midday rest, limit your nap time to no more than 20 minutes. Otherwise, your night sleep might lose quality.
4. Use Your Bed For Sleeping Only
Good sleep hygiene practices say you should use your bed for sleeping only. While it’s okay to use it for sex too, try to keep all other activities out of your sleeping space. No distractions should be allowed here, including mobile gadgets and Kindle books.
To boost your sleep quality, it is also crucial to invest in a good memory foam mattress or mattress topper, so that you really feel comfortable in your bed.
5. Keep Your Bedroom Cool
Besides a comfortable bed and minimal activities before bedtime, you should also keep your bedroom cool. Temperature up to 65°F usually suffices, as a cool environment allows your body to regulate its temperature during sleep so that your brain can really rest.
6. Establish A Bedtime Hour
Perhaps you remember your mom taking you to bed at the same time every night when you were a kid. As much as you hated it, know that going to bed at the same hour every night improves sleep hygiene exponentially.
Your circadian rhythm will adapt itself to the routine of going to sleep and waking up at the same hours day after day. The result is better and more restful sleep.
To figure out what hour should be bedtime hour, think of how much sleep you need each night and work your way from there.
7. Establish A Bedtime Routine
Another thing reminiscent of your childhood. Bedtime routines are good. Tell yourself these words each time your brain tries to trick you into a new activity that can keep you awake for longer. Whether it’s a hot bath, aromatherapy, reading a book or enjoying a beer on the porch, establish a bedtime routine and stick to it. In this way, your brain will learn to recognize when it’s time for bed.
8. Cut Off Screen Time
TVs, smart gadgets, and gaming consoles are all your enemies when it comes to improving sleep hygiene. The blue light emitted by these screens inhibits the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating our wake-sleep cycles.
Low melatonin means poor sleep and tiredness. You may go to bed feeling tired only to find yourself trapped in insomnia.
If you don’t want to cut off screen time, at least set your devices to block blue light after a certain hour.
9. Watch Your Diet
What you eat has a great influence on your sleep hygiene. Healthy food is recommended at all times, but avoiding hearty meals in the evening is crucial. Try to have dinner at least four hours before going to bed.
If you really need a snack before bedtime, choose a light and healthy meal. Yogurt, fruits, oats, and rice are some of your best bets.
10. Limit Alcohol And Caffeine
Another thing you should do is limit both your caffeine and alcohol intake in the evening. Caffeine is a well-known stimulant. Alcohol may induce drowsiness and sleep initially, but it will most likely prevent you from getting enough REM sleep.
If you’re taking any performance-enhancing drugs to boost muscle growth, know that many of these substances may interfere with your sleep too, as most supplements contain caffeine and other stimulants.
Now, all you have to do is implement these strategies to improve your sleep hygiene and increase your alertness during the day.