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Sleep Hygiene: 9 Steps to Improve Your Rest

By Troy
December 18, 2018

Sleep hygiene is defined as the practices and habits that are conducive to sleeping satisfactorily on a regular basis. The things you do during the day, just before bedtime, and after getting to bed can significantly influence the quality of sleep that you get. Bad sleeping habits can lead to poor sleep, which is detrimental to your overall wellbeing. On the other hand, better sleep hygiene can enable you to enhance the quality of the sleep you get, and consequently boost the quality of your life. Below are 9 tips you can count on to better your sleep hygiene.

Have A Regular Bedtime Routine

This is one of the most effective habits you can adopt to improve the quality of sleep you get. You should have a regular time for going to bed and getting out of the bed. This should continue even during the weekends.

Depriving yourself of sleep in the midweek and trying to binge-sleep during the weekend will do more harm than good to your sleep cycle. For adults, it is advisable to have between seven and eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. Children and adolescents may need more hours of sleep depending on age.

Exercise Regularly

Physical exercise is a proven way of managing stress and anxiety. However, it has to be done at the right time. Exercising just before bedtime makes it hard for you to catch sleep since the body doesn’t get adequate time to cool itself off.

In addition to wearing the body out, exercising late in the afternoon ensures that the body gets the necessary time to cool off, which helps the sleep come more readily.

Check What You Eat

Some foods are great for sleep while others interfere with sleep or make you feel sluggish the following morning. Processed carbohydrates, fatty foods, and spicy foods are the worst for sleep. Taking drinks with caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol just before bedtime can also deprive you of quality sleep.

On the other hand, foods rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids will go a long way in promoting the quality of your sleep.

However, it is advisable to avoid eating anything just before bedtime.

Make Your Bed as Comfortable as Possible

Having uncomfortable pillows or beddings can be detrimental to the quality of sleep that you get and having a comfortable bed can even induce sleep.

If your mattress is more than nine years old, and you have to readjust your pillow continually, then it’s about time for you to invest in new ones.

Associate Your Bedroom with Sleep Only

Sleep should be the only activity that your bedroom is dedicated to. Avoid watching TV, listening to the radio, or talking with your partner about important life issues or problems while in bed.

The brain may start to associate the bedroom with stress, instead of focusing on having a sound sleep.

Keep your bedroom dark

Light can interfere with the circadian rhythm, and this is not good for sleep. Thus, for you to have a sound sleep, you have to keep your bedroom dark by using heavy window shades or curtains.

You should also avoid staring at glowing electronics. If this is not possible, you can wear a sleep mask.

Keep your bedroom quiet

For some people, it is almost impossible to fall asleep in a noisy environment. Therefore, it is imperative for you to keep your bedroom as free from unnecessary sounds as possible. If this is impossible due to noise from neighboring houses, you can use earplugs to block out the sound.

Alternatively, you can try white noise; fans and other machines that produce continuous rhythmic sounds can cause you to relax and even help you in drowning out sudden or destructing noises.

Practice relaxation techniques before going to bed

Bringing arguments to bed or dwelling on frustrations can keep you awake at night. Thus, helping your body and mind to relax just before going to bed can be an excellent way of improving your sleep.

The common relaxation techniques that you can try include praying, meditating, and stretching your body.

Writing down the experiences you have had during the day can also be a therapeutic approach to relieving stress.

Keep electronics out of the bedroom

All electronic devices such as TVs, mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, and portable gaming systems should be ditched before bedtime. This is because their content can be stimulating and consequently prevent you from catching sleep as you read “just one more post” or play “just one more game.”

Furthermore, the light that these devices emit can interfere with circadian rhythm and trick your brain into believing that there is daylight. As a result, your brain could delay the release of melatonin, which is the hormone that is known for promoting sleep.

Check your bedroom temperature

For you to enjoy quality sleep, you have to ensure that your bedroom is not too cold or too hot. When you go to bed, your body temperature should gradually drop as your body prepares itself for sleep.

The right temperature for your bedroom should be between 60 and 67 degrees. Temperatures above or below this range will make it quite difficult for you to catch sleep let alone sleep continuously.

The Takeaway

Overall, it is apparent that sleep is an integral determinant of the quality of your life. Without adequate night sleep, it will be impossible for you to rest, and therefore, you are likely going to feel tired and sluggish during the day.

The tips discussed above will go a long way in helping you to develop better sleep hygiene and improve your general wellbeing.