Nothing beats a good night’s sleep, but often our sleep gets stolen due to our own bad habits. Sleep is a huge contributor in maintaining good health. It can help reduce stress maintain normal brain function and energy. It’s also a key player in maintaining the immune system and helping the body repair from everything we throw at it during the day1.
Sleep hygiene is a behavior or exercise you can do to promote and improve good sleep. We’ve all have made the mistake of caffeine too late in the day, but there are a few other things that maybe you haven’t considered. So, grab your smoothie and let’s dream up some other tips that might help.
Breathe, stretch, shake
If doing something every night for less than 5 mins could help you have a better sleep, would you do it? We see you nodding your head, so we’ll go on. Move your body and breathe. When you jump into bed, before you let your mind race or doze off to sleep, take 5-10 breaths. Slow, deep and conscious breaths. Don’t rush it, don’t do it while you’re watching TV, just you and your breath. If that feels too woo woo for you, before you get into bed, stretch your arms over your head and do a quick stretch from side to side or shake extra energy out by moving your arms, legs, head, whatever you’re able to, based on your ability. No rhythm required. The purpose is to bring some movement and awareness to your body and bring you to the present moment. This can bring you a sense of calm and help to transition from day to night. It feels like you’re shaking off the day and coming back to your body. It may feel awkward at first but over time, let that happen. Feel into the awkwardness and see it pass, in time it will.
Speaking of movement – exercise promotes sleep. But keep in mind that rigorous exercise too close to sleep can circulate endorphins which may make falling asleep difficult. Instead aim for morning or afternoon workouts when possible.
Lights dim, TV off
Make sleep a positive experience by setting your mood lighting.
So how do you set the mood? Turn off your devices and dim your lights an hour before bed (turning lights completely off at bedtime), try black out blinds, and if possible and does not impede with its function, cover any lights from humidifiers or other machines in your bedroom with duct tape.
The blue light from screens mimics daylight2 which can negatively impact your circadian rhythm. Get your daylight during the day by going outside, opening the blinds or looking out the window and keep it dim for nighttime.
Want to take it to the next level? Turn off your WiFi or put your phone on airplane mode an hour before bed. This will ensure you’re not exposing yourself to screens before bed because we all know the temptation is real.
SIP, EAT, SLEEP
Sadly, no we don’t mean a glass of wine and some chips before bed. Stay hydrated throughout your day but limit the amount of drinks you consume before bed. You know your body best, so if a glass of water right before bed has you up at 3am, try pushing it back to an hour before and hitting the restroom before bed. If you need a little help winding down, a warm cup of tea non-caffeinated tea, such as chamomile, or a warm cup of your favorite non- dairy beverage such as oat beverage, can be relaxing. And if you’re feeling hungry before bed, try a light snack with satiating protein, like one of these protein bites.
KEEP YOUR COOL
The National Sleep Foundation recommends a room temperature of around 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18-19 degrees Celsius). If you’re someone who likes it hot and are getting a cold chill just thinking about it, or if you’re feeling too cold before bed try putting a hot water bottle or heating pad at the foot of the bed, under the covers right before bed. There’s something so soothing about being a cool room and getting into a warm bed. Instant spa feeling. If you try this just remember to turn your heating pad off before you go to sleep.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Try to go to bed and wake up the same time. Ideally, your schedule should stay roughly the same every night of the week – being a weekend warrior can wreak havoc on your weekday schedule.
Bad sleeps occasionally are inevitable but if you keep these sleep hygiene tips in mind, you might find you are more often than not waking up on the right side of the bed.
Did we miss anything? What do you do to get better sleep? Let us know in the comments below or chat with us on social. We’d love to hear from you!
1. Zielinski, Mark R, et al. Functions and Mechanisms of Sleep. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5390528/
2. “Light, Sleep & School-Aged Children: A Complex Relationship.” National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/light-sleep-school-aged-children-complex-relationship