A checklist for healthy sleep?
It's no secret that a good night's sleep is one of the best ways to boost your energy and improve your mood. Additionally, if you're getting enough quality sleep, you'll also be able to focus better on work, relationships, and even hobbies. So, how do you make sure that happens? The best way is by establishing good sleep hygiene, or sleep habits which help you get the best rest possible each night. In this article we'll discuss what good sleep hygiene is and how it can help improve your overall health, as well as give some tips on creating a healthy routine for yourself!
What is healthy sleep hygiene
Healthy sleep hygiene refers to the habits and practices that promote good sleep quality and duration. Maintaining healthy sleep hygiene is important because sleep is essential for physical and mental well-being. Adequate sleep helps to regulate mood, improve cognitive function, and boost immune system function. Poor sleep, on the other hand, can lead to a range of negative consequences, including fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and an increased risk of health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Establishing healthy sleep hygiene habits, such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a conducive sleep environment, and avoiding screens before bedtime, can help to improve sleep quality and promote overall health and well-being.
Here’s an easy to follow sleep hygiene checklist to help you get a better night’s rest:
Use relaxation techniques before bed
If the thought of going to sleep makes you anxious, try using relaxation techniques before bed. Examples of these include:
Listening to relaxing music
Taking a warm shower or bath
Reading a book (a good one, not that trashy romance novel)
Practicing yoga or deep breathing exercises
Aim to get 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night
The quality of your sleep is just as important as the quantity. If you wake up feeling refreshed and energized, that’s a good sign that you got the right amount of sleep.
It's normal for adults to need 7-9 hours of sleep each night, however, everyone has their own ideal amount. To find out what works best for you, keep track of how much sleep you get each night for a week or two. Then try making small changes: go to bed 15 minutes earlier every few days until you notice a difference in how well rested and alert you feel during the day.
Keep a consistent sleep schedule
Your body is a machine, and it needs regular maintenance in order to run properly. You know this, because you go to the gym regularly or eat well-balanced meals. The same principle applies when it comes to sleep: your body needs a consistent amount of sleep every night in order to function at its best.
To achieve this consistency, keep a regular bedtime and wake time as much as possible. If your work schedule requires that you get up early in the morning (for example), then try going to bed earlier than usual on the weekends so that you can wake up closer to when you’re supposed to be at work again on Monday morning.
If possible, avoid napping during the day—this will help ensure that when it comes time for bedtime rolls around again (10 pm or so), your body is ready for some quality rest time!
Sleep in a cool, dark room
There are numerous ways to improve the quality of your sleep. One of the most important things you can do is to make sure your bedroom is dark and cool. Darkness helps you fall asleep faster, improves sleep quality and also helps regulate hormones that control your body’s internal clock. Light interferes with the production of melatonin, a hormone that affects circadian rhythms (our 24-hour body clock).
You should aim for a temperature between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you go to bed so that it feels cool when you lie down but not cold enough for shivering or waking up chilled during the night.
Use your bedroom for sleeping
Your bedroom should be a place that you associate with sleep and nothing else. Don’t use it for entertaining guests or doing work, watching TV, eating meals, reading or anything else that doesn’t involve getting some rest. If you need to do something in your room other than sleep, move the activity to a different room.
Your bedroom should also be free of clutter so that it can serve its purpose: helping you relax and fall asleep faster. If there are things in your bedroom that aren’t useful or beautiful—like old boxes of clothes or books that you never read—they should either find their way into another room (and fill an actual need) or go straight into recycling/donation bins where they belong.
Limit alcohol before bedtime & food two hours before bedtime
Limiting your alcohol consumption before bedtime can help you get a good night's rest. Alcohol is known to disrupt sleep and cause you to wake up more often throughout the night. It also has an effect on your breathing that causes frequent disruptions from sleep, thus reducing overall quality of sleep.
Limiting food intake two hours before bedtime will also help you get better sleep. Foods high in fat, sugar, or salt tend to stay longer in the digestive tract and keep you awake longer than normal meals would (i.e., dinner). These types of foods can cause heartburn as well as nausea when lying down after eating them late at night; both will interrupt your ability to fall asleep peacefully without having any interference from these issues that could arise due to eating too much food just before going off into dreamland.
Avoid caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime
If you're having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, reducing your caffeine intake might be the key to getting a good night's rest. Caffeine is a stimulant that can stay in your system for up to 12 hours. Because it acts as a stimulant, avoiding caffeine close to bedtime helps promote sleep by reducing anxiety and improving sleep quality.
Limit electronic devices before bed
As you can imagine, avoiding screens at night is one of the most important aspects of healthy sleep hygiene.
We’re in a very different world than our ancestors were, and we have to adjust accordingly. But even if you think that technology isn’t having a negative impact on your sleep habits, here are some things to consider:
If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, it might be time to try minimizing your exposure to electronics before bedtime. This includes smartphones, laptops and tablets—even TV sets with their blue light (which studies show can disrupt your circadian rhythm).
While it may seem like an unnecessary step at first glance, many experts recommend turning off any electronics in your bedroom altogether. The problem with these devices is not only their brightness but also the fact that they stimulate brain activity during times when we should be winding down for sleep and giving ourselves time for restorative sleep.
Stop using your smartphone as an alarm clock
Go ahead and get rid of your smartphone as an alarm clock. If you are using a timer app on your phone to wake up in the morning, it is probably not doing you any favors. That's because the blue light emitted from your phone's screen can make it harder for you to fall asleep in the first place and disrupts your quality of sleep when it does happen. Even worse, if you have notifications set up on your phone like calendar reminders or text messages (which many people do), these notifications will wake you up even more than they need to every time they come through—and chances are good that those alerts will interrupt REM sleep stages (the deepest stage of sleep) since REM is often one of the last stages we go through before waking up. The best way to experience the power of restorative sleep is to ditch the smartphone alarm and replace it with a traditional alarm clock, like Mudita Bell or Mudita Harmony.
Be active during the day
Regular daily exercise can help promote better sleep hygiene because it can help regulate the body's natural sleep-wake cycle. When you exercise, your body temperature rises and then falls, which can help you feel more tired at bedtime. Exercise can also reduce the levels of stress hormones in the body and improve the overall quality of sleep. In addition, regular physical activity can help reduce the risk of developing sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea. By establishing a consistent exercise routine, you can help your body better prepare for sleep and improve your sleep hygiene.
You have more control over your sleep than you might think.
Sleep is important for your health and well-being, but most of us don't get enough of it. According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep each night for optimal health.
How can you improve your sleep? By making changes to your lifestyle. The things that happen during the day can affect how well we can fall asleep at night. Use our simple healthy sleep checklist to help you get a better night's sleep.
Many people wonder what the best way to improve their sleep is. You can start by following our simple sleep hygiene checklist to help you get a better night's rest. If you’re still struggling with your sleep, talk to your doctor or another medical professional for more advice on how to address any underlying health concerns that may be affecting your quality of slumber.
We invite you to take a look at our Sleep Better resource page which covers all the important factors that impact our quality of sleep. Also, please check out similar articles featured on our blog and learn more about proven tips for better health and overall well-being.
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