If you've struggled with putting a sleep routine into place, let this be the year you take a step to make a change. Think of your sleep hygiene as a series of sleep habits. These habits can drastically improve your ability to not only fall asleep more easily but to also stay asleep and wake up rested.
Whether you have chronic insomnia or are struggling with self-control when it comes to prioritizing rest over that last Netflix episode, these tips can help set you on the right path. If implementing the entire list feels overwhelming, begin with a few new habits and build from there.
The first thing you'll want to do is make some tweaks to the environment that is your bedroom. Ideally, the room should be cool, dark, and peaceful. Turn down the temperature, get some black-out blinds, play spa sounds, and lightly spray the sheets with essential oils. Whatever you need to do to create an inviting atmosphere.
So, now you have a bedroom that is enticing to sleep in. Great! What’s next?
Establish your schedule. Choose the hours you'll be dedicating to sleep each night, and be intentional about sticking to them as often as possible. This helps your body's internal clock to create a routine.
Exercise early in the day. It's great to get those endorphins pumping, but if you do it too close to bedtime, it might make it more difficult to drift off into a good night’s sleep.
Be cautious of naps. Do you feel like you need to take a power nap when you come home from work? While it might be enticing at the moment, it usually ends up lasting longer than intended and throws off your body's natural timeline for sleep.
Use the bedroom only for bedroom activities. If at all possible make your bedroom your sanctuary for sleep and rest so that when you lay down at night, your body knows precisely what is happening.
Limit blue light. If you don't have a light bulb that you can manually change the hue from cool to warm, grab some glasses that are specifically made to filter out these rays that tend to keep our brains working overtime.
Engage in a ritual. Whether it's a bath or a night-time skincare routine, or even just a candle, this act signals to our brain that bedtime is coming.
It's important to note that sometimes you'll do your best to follow these habits and your mind still won't shut off. You can try leaving a notebook near your bedside so you can do a brain dump when your mind is spinning. The act of getting those thoughts out onto paper will keep them from constantly swirling in your head, keeping you awake. This is a great practice to do every night, so you crawl into bed with a clear mind.