Sleep. Some people can sleep on the train, some people can sleep sitting up on the couch with the TV blaring….others can’t sleep unless the room is sealed against every sliver of light and sound…
Sleep hygiene refers to what we do to protect, covet and ensure good sleep.
And because of the above, it might be a bit different for each of us. However, we are all human, and there are some thingswhich make a big difference for most of us;
- Part of it is timing. When to go to bed, when to turn off the light, how long to stay there, and when to get up.
- Part of it has to do with cycles of light – when to be exposed to bright lights, when to avoid them, what colours or spectrums of light to look at, when.
- Part of it has to do with other things we use to cue our internal clocks. Things like food and exercise.
You may have seen my previous tips from my first post on Sleep Hygiene, or learned before how a Lack of Sleep can lead to Weight Gain. It was such a big topic, I decided to return to cover more of it. The truth is, there are many things that contribute to good sleep.
TIP: Pick one area, and try to make some improvements there.
Here are easy sleep hygiene tips to improve your sleep quality.
- Expose yourself to bright light/daylight/sunlight as close to when you (wish to be) awake in the morning as possible. Repeat daily to set your internal clock.
- Using blue light devices (electronics) is best in the day.
- Use blue light protection (such as the f.lux app) on devices after 5pm.
- Try wearing orange-tinted glasses, or blue-light blocking glasses, in the evening.
- Keep your lights low and warm-toned in the evening.
- Turn off blue light devices like iPADs 1 hour before going to bed.
- Avoid using an e-reader as your book before bed.
- Use black, light-blocking curtains and/or a sleep mask to sleep in darkness.
- In the night, try to leave the lights off, use dull orange night lights in the bathroom.
- Always be honest and speak your mind clearly in the day.
- Avoid caffeine and stimulants like nicotine, especially after 3pm.
- Don’t watch aggressive or scary movies late at night, as they raise your cortisol.
- If you feel scared at night, check your door and windows before bed, avoid news.
- Make a to-do list the night before, to reduce worrying.
- Don’t go to bed angry.
- Avoid chewing over things said or unsaid in bed, instead, meditate.
- Leave a notepad on the bedside to write down things, to clear your thoughts.
- Get moving and listen to music, talk to people as soon as you can in the morning.
- Do any kind of exercise daily, it helps with sleep.
- Exercise when you wake up, or at noon, or mid afternoon, not at night.
- If you do exercise at night, avoid aerobic with lights and loud music, try yin yoga.
- If you NEED more sleep, find out why you are so tired (I can help!).
- Keep the bedroom for sleep and intimacy.
- Keep all wifi emitting things away from your sleep area.
- Keep watching movies and TV to another room.
- Keep the bedroom calm, associate it with sleep.
- Keep the room cool and fresh – a few degrees cooler than during the day.
- Add some air purifying plants like snake plant or peace lily.
- Try to create air flow.
- Keep the bedroom soothing, with dark, calming colours.
BUILD A BETTER BED
- Put an extra warm blanket on the foot of the bed/ keep your feet warm.
- Try a weighted blanket for extra calming.
- Wash your sheets and pillow in hot water every couple of weeks to kill mites.
- Vaccuum your mattress at every change of season.
- Dogs and cats are fine, as long as you are not allergic or cramped.
- Try warm sleeping socks, as warm extremities help you sleep.
EAT FOR GOOD SLEEP
- Do not eat 2-3 hrs before bed.
- Avoid heavy or rich foods, fatty or fried meals, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks in the last couple of hours before bed.
- Get protein every day to get enough tryptophan.
- Carb cycle, eating only carbs in the last meal/ snack of the day (no protein), to push the tryptophan into the brain at night, to ease low mood.
- To avoid night waking from low blood sugar, adopt a higher fat lower carb diet.
- Have a bedtime routine that includes face washing.
- If you can, sleep at the same time every night. Try to have a consistent bedtime.
- Get to bed at least 1 hour before midnight.
- Have a bath routine in dim or candle light before bed.
- Lavender essential oil is nice at night.
- Try a warm bath in Epsom salts before bed.
- Set your alarm for a multiple of 90 minutes, this allows you to get fully in and back out of a sleep cycle, so that you do not wake up mid-dream.
HOW TO SLEEP
- Sleep on your back, or the left side, most of the time.
- Sleep on the right side after a heavy meal if you are prone to acid reflux.
- If you get painful heartburn that disrupts sleep, sleep with your pillow raised.
- Sleep for 7.5-8.5 hours
- If you nap*in the day, do so for either 20 or 90 min to maintain circadian rhythm.
- Don’t let yourself sleep for more than 8.5-9 hours most of the time. Too much sleep is as bad as too little. So get up.
I hope these tips help you to get a good, deep, restful sleep!
Gettaing a restful sleep is easier in a cool room.
Still feeling TIRED?
If you still suffer from insomnia or poor sleep and feel tired in the day when you must be alert, you should know about the coffee nap*.
Coffee napping is a special trick with its basis in science. It has been proven to work better than either napping or coffee alone for increasing alertness and feeling of renewed energy.
What you want to do is to get a coffee.
Do not request it extra hot. Do not request half-caf or decaf. A black coffee is ideal. It will get through digestion in less time.
Prepare yourself for a nap. Find a quiet, comfortable spot, get yourself prepared. Set a timer for 20-25 minutes. Grab an eye mask, a blanket, some earplugs, whatever.
Now, drink the coffee, as quickly as you can.
And close your eyes, lay down, and nap. Coffee nap.
You see, it takes about 20-25 minutes for the caffeine in coffee to take effect.
When you wake up, you’ll be refreshed by the nap (of the perfect length) and your caffeine will just be kicking in.
I hope this was helpful!