“Sleep hygiene” is a term that refers to your sleep habits and rituals that surround your nighttime routine, not the cleanliness of your sheets and favorite pjs. We live in a society of overachievers, and as a result, most Americans are perpetually exhausted and sleep deprived. If only we dedicated as much time and attention to our sleep hygiene as we do to our jobs and other activities of daily living. Today, I’m going to share with you how to enhance your sleep hygiene and thereby improve your quality of life. There’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep, it’s critical for an improved mood, increased energy levels and even weight loss.
Consistency is Key
If you’re a parent, think back to when you were teaching your child about bedtime. Every night, that magical bedtime hour would roll around and you and your little one would march up to bed. You may not have been aware of it, but you were training your child to develop their own sleep routine, teaching their body to fall asleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. The same training applies to adults.
The trick for adults is to maintain the same sleep/wake time on the weekends as you do during the week. It may be tempting to stay up until 2 am on the weekends, but it is not beneficial to your sleep hygiene. I suggest maintaining the same bedtime and wake time every day, and give your body time to adjust to its own natural schedule. Before you know it, you’ll be ditching the alarm clock because you simply won’t need it anymore.
Keep Your Room Dark and Cool
Your body’s sleep cycle is controlled by your circadian rhythms. Light tells your body it’s time to be awake, and the dark signals your body that it’s time to sleep. If there’s light in your room, whether it be natural light or artificial, it will disrupt your circadian rhythm and make it very difficult for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. I recommend investing in some heavy duty or full blackout curtains to keep your room nice and dark and ensure a good night’s sleep.
The temperature of your room is also important for sleep hygiene. When it’s too hot, you can wake up drenched in sweat, and when it’s too cold, you may wake up shivering. Studies suggest that a temperature between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit is best for sleep routine. I suggest playing around different temperatures in this range and seeing what it most comfortable for your specific body.
I know, this one is really challenging, but research suggests that the blue light from electronics has an enormous impact on our circadian rhythms and can majorly disrupt your quality of sleep. Blue light actually inhibits the body’s ability to create melatonin, the hormone that helps us fall asleep and stay asleep. I recommend keeping your bedroom an electronic free zone. That means no television, no cell phone, no laptop and no ipad with the four corners of your sacred sleeping area.
Get an Exercise Routine
This may seem counter intuitive, but your daily activity levels have a major impact on your sleep hygiene. Developing and maintaining a regular exercise routine not only helps you to lose weight and develop strength, it also helps to regulate hormone and energy levels. Moving your body in some way each day will improve your quality of sleep simply because you will feel more tired.
I suggest playing around and finding an exercise time that works well for your body. Some people find that exercising too late in the evening energizes them and impairs their ability to fall asleep when bedtime rolls around, but others love that feeling of an intense workout that creates full-body exhaustion a few hours before bed.
What are some of your healthy sleep habits? I’d love to hear them! Share below!