TIPS FOR GETTING BETTER SLEEP – AKA SLEEP HYGIENE
The continuation of my post of Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain…
Well, this might seem silly but…
1 – Make sleep a priority.
Let’s admit that, for a lot of us, the lack of sleep we’re getting is often because we simply give other activities priority. Making something a priority will help you achieve it.
I once gave a talk to a room full of yogis – people who prioritize health – they regularly exercise, use glass containers and toxin-free body care, eat their veggies, practice meditation, and otherwise live very healthfully. Even they did not sleep 7.5-8 hours per night on average. Even they were used to pushing their schedules to bursting.
Even if this is the only tip you follow, do give it a shot. You may need to completely re-think your priorities, and even get your partner/ family members on board.
2 – Be consistent with your sleeping times.
Your body loves routine, and having a consistent bedtime can actually train your brain, your body’s clock (circadian rhythm), and sleep hormones to follow suit.
3 – Eliminate stimulants after noon.
Ideally, you won’t expose your body to chemical stimulation for the whole afternoon and
evening. This includes caffeine (coffee, black and green teas, chocolate) and nicotine
4 – Get some exercise and sunshine during the day.
Of course exercise and sunshine have many health benefits. They also tell your brain that it’s daytime, so it can help to set your body’s clock.
Tip: Be sure to finish exercise at least three hours before bedtime, as it may stimulate some people and keep them awake.
5 – Stop eating and drinking a couple of hours before bed By cutting out your bedtime snack you will eat fewer calories, and you may even have a better night’s sleep and wake up more alert. Also, by not drinking fluids a few hours before bed you’ll reduce the need to go the bathroom in the middle of the night.
6 – Lower your lights when the sun goes down
If your brain thinks it’s daytime it will not make the sleep hormone melatonin so it can stay awake. So, having bright white (or blue-ish) lights can trick your brain into thinking that it’s daytime.
So, you can dim your lights, buy amber/red light bulbs and/or blue-blocker glasses, turn off electronics (or at least use the f.lux or twilight apps), and if you do need to go to the bathroom during the night, don’t turn on the light.
7 – Create a relaxing pre-bed routine
Choose something that you enjoy and will help to relax your body and mind and prepare it for a good night’s sleep, whether it be a warm bath, or reading a book.
And when you start feeling drowsy, just go to bed.
8 – Keep your bedroom comfortable
Having a room that is too hot, bright, or noisy can keep you from having a good night’s sleep. Ideally your room will be cool, completely dark, and either silent or with white noise.
9 – Get light as soon as you wake up
Turn on the lights or open the blinds as soon as you wake. This tells your brain to wake up and start the day.
I hope you find these tips actionable, and give them a try.
It can make a world of difference.
Update: there was so much to write about, there is a follow-up post with more tips here.