With a large number of us suffering from sleeping disorders like insomnia it is starting to become well documented how poor sleep hygiene can affect your day-to-day life. A lack of good sleep can lead to some serious issues like reduced concentration and focus, poor memory retention, slower response times, mood swings, and even a weaker immune system. Given how important it is to our overall health it’s not surprising that people are now looking for ways to improve their sleep. This sleep hygiene checklist provides 4 areas of focus that should help you improve the overall quality of your sleep.
Build a Space for Sleep with this Sleep Hygiene Checklist
You need a good sleep space, somewhere comfortable to sleep that minimises the distractions. First things first make sure that your bed itself is comfortable and suitable for you. Invest in a good mattress and comfortable bedding where possible. Reduce the amount of tossing and turning you do each night by making sure you aren’t on a mattress that is past its prime or doesn’t offer you full support. If you make your bed as comfortable as possible it will be easier to drift off and you likely won’t be as stiff and sore when you wake up.
Check the temperature of your bedroom, if it’s too hot you may find it hard to sleep as you are constantly kicking off the covers or feeling dehydrated. If the room is too cold you may find yourself bundling up and shivering under the blankets preventing you from drifting off. Most experts say a temperature between 60-67°F is the best for sleep. Find out what temperature is right for you and try and regulate the temperature to ensure it stays relatively consistent.
A darkened room will help you set your mind into sleep mode, so it may be worth investing in blackout blinds if you can. This will help maintain your sleep schedule and prevent you from being woken up by lights outside the window. If you cannot get blackout blinds then buy yourself an eye mask instead.
“Make your bedroom an environment that promotes sleep and relaxation. Reduce noise in the bedroom as much as possible, you should only use the bedroom for sleep or relaxation. There’s no need for TVs, Games Consoles, Radios etc. These just provide distractions and make the bedroom less associated with rest” recommends Vikki Greene a business writer at UK Writings and Elite assignment help.
If you can’t reduce the noise level then look to get some noise cancelling earbuds or a white noise machine to help you rest. Sleep music may also be an option but try and avoid anything that will stimulate your brain or distract you from sleeping.
Set up Routine Times for Sleep and Waking Up
Ideally, you should be waking up and going to bed at the same time each day in order to build a routine. This does sadly mean no long lies during the weekend but your body will thank you for it overall. Find out how much sleep you need to be effective, the average is around 8 hours but this can vary depending on your health, hormones, or just your general makeup.
Block out that time accordingly adding an extra 30 minutes for wind-down time before bed. This time should be used to put yourself in sleep mode by relaxing or taking the time to do a quick meditation to help you sleep.
Sleep Hygiene Checklist
Good sleep hygiene does not only relate to the evenings as you are getting ready for bed but to what you do throughout the day as well. Try and exercise for 20-30 minutes every day to reduce stress and help your body regulate. Avoid naps during the day and try and start your day off with some exposure to natural light.
Avoid stimulants like caffeine and nicotine for 4-6 hours before bed to ensure they are out of your system when you are trying to sleep. There’s a reason cigarettes and coffee are used by some people to keep awake.
Try and avoid drinking too much alcohol before bedtime as it will impact your sleep. This has the added bonus of hopefully preventing you from waking up with a hangover. Stay hydrated but do not drink too much water before bed or you will probably find yourself up and down all night at the bathroom interrupting your sleep.
“Experts say that they blue light from screens can disrupt melatonin which is the chemical your body produces to help induce sleep. An hour before bed start to quiet your environment by turning off the TV and avoiding looking at screens where possible” says Tommy Read a technical writer at OX Essays and Revieweal.
Finally, if you tend to have a busy brain that takes the wind-down period to remind you of things you need to do or gives you a creative idea you want to act on start keeping a notepad and pen by your bed. When the thought arises note it down for you to review in the morning. This ensures you don’t forget any vital information and allows you to acknowledge the thought without you having to move from a state of relaxation.
If You Can’t Sleep
When you are trying to sleep, but can’t immediately drift off close your eyes and relax. After 20 minutes if you still haven’t fallen asleep get up and out of bed. Go somewhere relatively darkened and do an activity that is calming and non-stimulating. You can return to bed when you begin to feel drowsy. If you wake up before your planned wake-up time stay in bed with your eyes closed and try and relax. Or you could try these sleep affirmations.
Sleep hygiene is all about creating a routine and sticking to it. Your brain will eventually start to associate certain actions with sleep and begin a natural wind down. It can be hard at first to stick to the routine but it’s important to push through. Overall remember to create a good sleep space, keep to a routine of going to sleep and waking up, avoid any stimulants before bed, reduce screen time in the evening, and try and exercise daily. If you still can’t sleep don’t stay in bed, get up and do something calming until you feel drowsy.
Follow through with these steps and you should find yourself with a better quality of sleep. Sweet Dreams!