A good sleep routine is a powerful thing. Healthy sleep habits contribute to better sleep, and a better quality of life. Better sleep can also make a big difference to your overall health. A healthy sleep routine is also often referred to as sleep hygiene, and the routine is made up of little habits you adopt on a daily basis in order to improve your sleep – and reap the benefits in your wellbeing.
Get Daily Exercise
During the day it really helps your sleep at night when you exercise well. Vigorous activity is better than calm activity, although any exercise is good. You can exercise at any time but don’t do so much that you end up missing out on sleep.
Make Your Room a Sleep Haven
Your bedroom should be a place where you can easily fall asleep, which is restful and the right conditions for rest. The bedroom should be cool and dark and quiet. Minimize any disruption from outside influences like noise and light by using blackout curtains, wearing ear plugs, sleeping with a fan or a humidifier, and other tactics like choosing the right bedding.
Choose the Right Bedding
Your mattress and pillows should be the right ones for you. Everyone is different, and you will have different health needs and preferences. But make sure that you are not sleeping on a very old mattress as you need to replace them every 9 to 10 years. The mattress should be supportive and the pillows and bedding should be allergen-free so you will not have your sleep disrupted by allergens.
Don’t Nap in the Afternoon
It may be tempting to try and catch up with missed sleep by taking a quick nap in the afternoon but studies show that you will find it more difficult to fall asleep at night, which will consequently mess around with your overall sleep routine.
Limit Your Caffeine Intake
Try to cut down on the amount of caffeine you are taking in, and particularly avoid drinking or eating anything with caffeine five or six hours before you go to bed. You can have coffee in the morning and not have a problem sleeping, but drink it much later in the day and you will find a problem.
Use Bright Light in the Daytime
And minimize exposure to bright light at bedtime and even in the evening. Make sure you try and get out in the sunshine when you can during the fay. This helps to regulate your circadian rhythm and make it easier for your body clock to set to a regular sleep and wake schedule.
Avoid Heavy Food and Drink in the Evening
Try to make your evening meal light and easy to digest. Avoid too much alcohol and smoking in the evening, and cut caffeine from your bedtime hours. Spicy foods right before bed can cause digestive problems that affect your sleep. If you eat early and you are hungry before bed try a very light snack around 45 minutes before you go to sleep.
Skip the Gadgets Before Bed
Many people find that the light from electronic screens is very disruptive to sleep when used right before bed. Avoid using tablets etc. just before you sleep. Instead do a relaxing activity like reading.
Stick to the Same Schedule
It is important to stick to the same sleeping and waking times every day in order to help set and regulate your body clock. When your body clock is regular, you find it easier to fall asleep and it is more likely you will stay asleep throughout the night. This also counts for weekends. Studies show that people who stick to the same bedtime all through the week with no lie-ins and late nights have better sleep overall.
Develop a Soothing Before-Bed Ritual
Right before you go to bed is a good time to practice a soothing set of rituals that help you to fall asleep and help keep anxiety and stress at bay. Because these rituals are habitual, they are also soothing as you know what to expect each night. A pre-bed routine should be conducted in calm and quiet surroundings, with dim lights, and minimal interference from outside sources of stress.
If You Can’t Sleep, Relax
If you are finding it difficult to get to sleep, don’t get stressed out with the thought that you are not sleeping. Get up and go to another room to do a calming activity.
It is important when developing a better sleep routine not to panic and stress if you are not getting it right. Just relax, put a few small changes into place, and you will soon see the difference in your sleep patterns and your sleep quality, which will persist and improve over time.