Understanding your sleeping habits and determining what you can do to improve them is an important part of sleep hygiene. As an adult, you should be practicing sleep hygiene daily so you can optimize your quality of sleep at night.
Proper sleep hygiene can include anything from avoiding frequent naps to keeping a consistent bedtime schedule. As good sleep hygiene can help improve how well you are falling and staying asleep, making a few adjustments to optimize your sleep hygiene is a great way to ensure you are staying healthy and well, especially during uncertain times like these.
Practicing sleep hygiene is a great and easy way for people who experience minor sleep-related difficulties like having trouble falling asleep. Below, we outline seven of our favorite ways to level up your sleep hygiene
1. Work Out Consistently
Whether you are lifting weights, going for a jog, or doing bodyweight home workouts, getting 20-30 minutes of exercise a day is important to help maintain your overall health and sleep. Getting exercise can help decrease how many times you wake up during the night and make falling asleep easier—but try to avoid doing the majority of your workout within 2 hours of bed, as it can lead to you feeling energized and restless when you should be trying to wind down for the night.
2. Create A Cohesive Sleep Environment
Creating a sleep-friendly environment is important to ensure you are in a comfortable, cozy setting that can help induce sleep. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the best sleeping environment, but most people generally find the best temperature for sleep to be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, try opting for warm-toned or dim lights to prevent any blue or bright light from waking you up.
3. Get A Daily Dose Of Vitamin D
Daily sun exposure is important to ensure you are getting enough natural light. This can help regulate your circadian rhythm, get your brain in the right place to start the day, and get you your daily dose of vitamin D. Try taking a morning walk, or going outside to do some morning yoga stretches and see if it helps give you that welcome natural energy boost.
4. Reduce Noise
If you live near noisy neighbors or in a bustling city area, you may be all too accustomed to falling asleep with background noise. Many people brush it off, but background noise actually has a directly correlated effect with impaired sleep quality. Even if the noise isn’t waking you up, it could prevent you from sleeping as well as you could otherwise. Try investing in earplugs or nighttime meditative sleep music to combat the negative effects of noise on your sleep.
5. Go Tech-Free For An Hour Before Bed
It can be hard to step away from our electronics before falling asleep, but the blue light that technology emits can be harmful to your circadian rhythm and can strain your eyes at night. Additionally, blue light can lower your natural melatonin levels, which has a negative effect on your overall quality of sleep. Try implementing a no-tech before bed rule and opt for a relaxing activity like yoga or reading instead.
6. Resist Late-Night Snacking
Although it can be difficult to resist, late-night snacking has proven negative effects on your sleep and can even lead to things like weight gain or insomnia. Try eating your last meal at least two to three hours before going to bed, and try opting for foods that are conducive to helping you sleep like popcorn, dark chocolate, or pretzels.
7. Listen To Your Body
Trying to force yourself to fall asleep when your mind is racing can lead to increased feelings of anxiety, causing you to put yourself in a feedback loop of trying to fall asleep and becoming stressed or frustrated when it doesn’t happen. If you are having trouble falling asleep after 20 minutes, try getting up and doing a calming activity like reading or meditating—but avoid looking at your smartphone, as this could signal to your body that you should be awake and alert.
Proper sleeping habits can benefit everyone. Whether you try resisting late-night snacking or focus on getting your heart pumping for 20-30 minutes a day, there are many ways to help set the stage for you to get better sleep.
The best way to figure out your optimal sleep hygiene routine is to experiment with different habits and see which ones work best for you. For a complete guide on improving your sleep hygiene, check out the infographic from Casper below.