Sleep is an essential part of health and wellbeing. In order to improve sleep quality, there are a number of different supplements that can be used. However, before supplements are prescribed, we must look at the foundation and the lifestyle elements that affect sleep. Healthy sleep habits are often referred to as sleep hygiene because similar to personal hygiene, sleep hygiene helps to maintain health and prevent illnesses. In this post, we will share with you our top 5 sleep hygiene tips.
1. Avoid Caffeine
This first tip may seem very obvious to you, but it is so important! Avoid caffeine-containing beverages or foods after 2 pm and if you are sensitive to caffeine avoid it after 12 noon. Some common caffeine-containing products include coffee, sodas, some vitamin waters, chocolate, ice cream and even decaf coffee and tea has a bit of caffeine. A recent study showed that in some people, caffeine is not metabolized efficiently and they can feel the effect long after consuming it. As such, an afternoon cup of coffee or tea will keep some people from falling asleep. Also, some medications, particularly diet pills contain caffeine. In addition to caffeine being a stimulant that can keep you up at night, it is also a bladder irritant that can wake you up in the night to use the washroom.
2. Keep a regular routine to train your biological clock.
Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends! Keeping a regular schedule helps the body know when it is supposed to sleep.
3. Do not use electronics 1-2 hours before bed.
Electronics, such as cell phones, tablets and televisions give off a blue light that affects melatonin production and the natural sleep-wake cycle. Avoiding the use of electronics 1-2 hours before bed, as well as dimming the lights help to encourage the body to prepare for sleep.
4. Use your bed only for sleep and sex
By limiting the activities that you do in bed, you are helping the mind make the association that when you are in bed, it is time to relax and go to sleep. If you are used to watching TV or doing work in bed, you may find it harder to relax and to think of the bedroom as a place to sleep.
5. Don’t panic about a poor night’s sleep.
This makes your sleeping worse. Trust in the wisdom of your body that you are getting enough sleep. Instead, use positive self-talk phrases before going to bed. Repeat a positive affirmation regarding sleep 10 times in a row and do this 3x/day. Here is an example of an affirmation you can repeat: “I trust in the wisdom of my body to get the sleep I need.”
Getting a good night’s sleep starts by regulating the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Simple lifestyle tips, such as the ones above help to improve sleep. There are many other sleep hygiene tips that can be done to help the body to get a good night’s sleep, which we will share over the next couple weeks. Making sleep a priority is an important choice in achieving overall wellness.