[Image description: A woman sits up and stretches in bed as she watches the sun rise.]
Sometimes it can be difficult to get the right amount of sleep and to know what that means for you personally. Whether you find yourself struggling to fall or stay asleep, or simply aren’t getting enough of it, there are many ways to find comfort — one of which is focusing on your sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene means optimizing your sleep habits and patterns. While you may tend to personal hygiene by showering, hand sanitizing and taking other cleanliness measures, sleep hygiene involves focusing on getting enough quality rest so you feel recharged and refreshed the next day.
Here are a few tips to get you started. You can try adding them one at a time — any improvement, large or small, can make a difference.
5 healthy sleep hygiene tips:
- Create a sleep schedule. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day (including weekends) can help regulate your body. It might take a few days or weeks to identify which schedule feels best for you, so try to be open to experimenting.
- Get comfortable. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet and make sure it’s not too hot or cold. This might help send cues to your body that it is time to rest.
- Disconnect. See if you can remove any electronics from your bedroom before you go to sleep. Unplugging from blue light, which usually disrupts and/or prevents sleep, can be a great first step towards relaxation and deep rest.
- Eat an early dinner. Try to avoid large meals, alcohol, and/or caffeine close to bedtime. Caffeine can disrupt sleep because it is a stimulant. It also usually takes 4-6 hours to metabolize half of what you’ve consumed, so having a cup late in the day could keep you up at bedtime.
- Move your body. Whether it’s a walk around the block, high-intensity exercise or somewhere in between, staying physically active during the day can make it easier to fall asleep at night.
It is a good idea to reference this list in the future because your needs and circumstances may change. As life progresses and stressors arise, it’s natural if your sleep is disrupted. This can be especially true during the winter months, which is when people typically experience Seasonal Affective Disorder. While you can look back at the list above anytime, you might also have a visit with a therapist or doctor from home using LiveHealth Online. They can advise and counsel you on certain lifestyle changes that may help increase your quality of sleep.