Sleep hygiene is an important routine to keep in check, as our quality of sleep greatly impacts other areas of life such as mood, focus, and attention. The challenge is that these strategies do not work overnight. They take practice and a lot of repetition in order to see results. Setting up expectations in this way is important to keep yourself motivated and on task.
1. Don’t look at the clock in the middle of the night.
Most of us want to know what time it is when we wake up in the middle of the night to know how much time we have left to get some quality sleep before the dreaded alarm. When we do this, our brain automatically starts to do the math, thus waking our brains and bodies up unintentionally, making it harder to fall back asleep. Instead, it is recommended to turn clocks around when you go to sleep, and/or leave your phone away from the bed so that you cannot check the time.
2. No screens before bed
Our lives today are consumed by various screens- computes, tablets, TVs, and phones. As such, we tend to be on our screens for the majority of our day, including before bedtime. Being engaged with screens tells our brains that we need to be awake, both because of the light and the interactive component of scrolling through emails or other apps, or attending to content in some way. To combat this, it is recommended to stay off screens 30-60 minutes before going to sleep. Other activities to fill that time can include reading a book (not on a screen), meditation, or journaling.
3. Bedroom for sleep and intimacy only
We tend to use our bedrooms for sleep, watching television, reading, talking on the phone, intimacy, and working, essentially a multi-purpose space. To re-enforce healthy sleep habits, it is encouraged to use the bedroom ONLY for sleep and intimacy. By doing this, we train our brains to associate the bedroom with sleep.
4. Caffeine Intake
It is recommended to limit caffeine intake if you are struggling with sleep. Not only is it important to reduce amount of caffeinated beverages and sugary foods, but also to stop having caffeine around 3 or 4 PM. Caffeine intake will differ from person to person, so it may take some trial and error to find the best fit for you. Also note, that decaf coffee and tea still has caffeine in it. If you are craving a warm drink, you can always reach for an herbal/caffeine-free tea.
5. Bedtime routine
Keeping a regular schedule in the evenings and the mornings are important to keep consistency for your mind and body. For example, it is helpful to turn the lights off and close your eyes at a similar time each night and wake up and get out of bed at a similar time, even on the weekends. Again, your mind and body function best on regular routines, and this can help to reinforce high quality rest. Once sleep quality changes over time, there may be some more flexibility in how rigid these schedules can be.
Regular exercise is not only beneficial for physical health, but also as an outlet to regularly release any tension and stress. With reduced stress during the day, it can help to regulate ongoing tension and balance out levels in the body to encourage quality sleep.
Urban Balance therapists are able to help you achieve similar goals and work to tailor a plan that best fits your needs. If you would like to set up an appointment, call us at 888-726-7170 or email email@example.com.