Sleep hygiene

What is sleep hygiene?  The habits and routine you have for getting a good night’s sleep!

Sleep is vital to feeling good and one of the first things to suffer when you’re feeling blue.  Take an inventory of your sleep habits and make some improvements!

Here are three vitally important sleep hygiene habits:

1.  Turn off electronics an hour before bedtime.

It’s well established that the flashes of light from television and the “blue” light from electronics disrupt your circadian rhythm.  In other words, the light confuses your brain into thinking it’s daytime and you should be waking up.  Even if you’re able to immediately fall asleep, you’re likely to have disrupted sleep throughout the night.  The closer the electronics are to your eyes, the more disruptive–so television is better than your smart phone if you must.

2.  Create an evening “wind down” routine.  

This cues your mind and body that it’s time to shift gears and relax.  If you tend to start stressing about the next day’s tasks when it’s time to go to bed, spend 5 or 10 minutes planning the next day, then put that aside–your “to do” list shouldn’t be the last thing you do in the evening.  Your evening wind down is ideally around 30 minutes–15 minutes for evening tasks such as shutting off lights and evening hygiene, then 15 minutes for relaxation.

3.  Manage your liquids before bedtime.

We’ve all been trained to “hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!”  But taking in liquids right before bedtime will likely lead to getting up in the night.  Try discontinuing liquids an hour before bedtime and chances are you won’t wake up in the night for a bathroom break–and your sleep will be much more restorative!

For more information on getting a good night’s sleep:

Sleep Hygiene Tips from Harvard Medical School

If you’re feeling ambitious, overhaul your habits starting today.  If that’s too much, choose one habit that needs improving and focus on it tonight.  You’ll thank yourself tomorrow!

Tagged with →