It’s easy to feel like life is always getting busier. It can leave us feeling tired, but wired, and the good quality sleep that helps us stay well leading up to the holidays can be hard to come by.
If you struggle to fall asleep, or wake in the night and can’t get back to sleep, you might benefit from thinking about what in health we call “Sleep Hygiene”. Evidence shows that restorative sleep can be optimised by following some pretty simple rules, and even implementing a few of them that work for your lifestyle can lead to big improvements.
What is Sleep Hygiene?
Sleep Hygiene refers to the practices and habits that relate to a good night’s sleep. How well you sleep determines how well the next day will unfold – sleep is valuable, so paying attention to sleep hygiene is worth doing to set yourself up for an optimal slumber experience!
Sleep Hygiene Checklist
1. Maintain a regular bedtime and wake time (even weekends if you can!).
2. Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine. Taking a shower, moisturising your skin, reading a book, doing a 10- minute meditation or iRest yoga nidra, or even a few calming yoga poses can support your body and mind to relax, and the predictability of routine will help you drop into sleep more effortlessly.
3. Enjoy some regular exercise, but make sure you stop around 3 hours before bed.
4. Ban electronics from the bedroom – get rid of TV’s and leave the ipad and phone far away! Buy an old-fashioned alarm clock so you are not tempted to use your phone.
5. Ditch screens 2 hours before bedtime – the lighting plays havoc with the body’s release of melatonin that we need to help us drift off to sleep.
6. Make the bedroom a place for sleep and relaxing by yourself or with your partner.
7. Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before bed.
8. Rethinking daytime napping even when you are tired. If you have to, take a short 20-minute nap late morning.
9. Get some fresh air and sunlight in the afternoons.
10. This is a tough one… avoid caffeine in the afternoons and alcohol close to bedtime!
So what do you think? Perhaps there are a few simple and achievable changes you can make to your lifestyle to support quality sleep.