Weird phrase, isn’t it; sleep hygiene?
Getting to sleep at the end of a long day shouldn’t be a problem, but for many people disturbed, low quality, or absent sleep can be a big disruption to an otherwise healthy life.
Having access to our mobile devices, work stresses and caffeine can all play havoc with our night time routines – so here are my top tips for good sleep hygiene!
No tech zone
Making your bedroom a no-tech zone is the perfect way of making sure you’re not tempted to check twitter right before bed. The blue-toned light that our devices give off can trick the brain into thinking it’s still day time, and represses the hormonal cocktail our bodies make to get us off to a sound night’s sleep.
Understandably, we might be using our smartphones as an alarm clock – but be strict with yourself. An hour before bed is an ideal no-screen curfew; this includes the TV! Use the time instead to relax, read, have a cup of decaf tea, and wind down.
Watch your drinks
Limiting caffeine to the morning time can help your body be ready for sleep at night. Coming off caffeine all together is tricky for some people, but reducing and changing our use of it to the start of the day can help to mitigate its negative effects on the quality of sleep. This applies to other stimulants too – like nicotine or sugar.
Alcohol is a depressant, and although it has been shown to send people to sleep faster, the quality of that sleep is reduced as the body spends energy breaking the alcohol down.
It may seem like a counterproductive thing to do when you’re already exhausted, but as little as 10 minutes aerobic exercise a day has been shown to improve sleep quality. A lot of our stresses in life are mental, rather than physical, so it does well to actually tire your body out in order to get a better sleep.
Night in night out
Routine is another major factor in establishing good sleep hygiene. You can’t really sleep badly all week, and then “catch up” with a weekend lay in; it just doesn’t work that way. Instead, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day – to harness your body’s natural internal clock.