What is Sleep Hygiene?
Sleep Hygiene refers to the habits, environmental factors and practices that influence the length and quality of our sleep. Evidence suggests that establishing healthy routines and habits around sleep can provide long term solutions to help resolve sleep difficulties.
Poor quality, broken or inadequate amounts of sleep are common causes of fatigue. Research shows we need between 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night for optimal function and energy levels.
Follow the steps below to improve your sleep hygiene and begin experiencing restful sleep.
- Go to sleep around the same time every night
- Avoid caffeinated products or nicotine after 2pm
- Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages as this interferes with sleep cycles
- Ensure your bed is used only for sleep and sex, not work, study or TV.
- Keep naps to 20 minutes or less.
- Incorporate relaxing activities before bed – yoga, deep breathing, meditation, enjoying a bath
- Turn lights down 1 – 2 hours before bed. Use dim, warm light lamps instead of ceiling lights or fluorescents. This will encourage your melatonin production to help you feel tired and fall asleep.
- Limit the use of computers, Ipads, TV or any equipment using blue wavelength lights 1 – 2 hours before bed - as these have been shown to interfere with Melatonin production - or use a program such as F.Lux on your computer which switches it from blue light to a yellow light which helps reduce the impact on your melatonin.
- Use UVEX blue light blocking glasses, these yellow glasses block most of the blue lights so you can still watch TV or be exposed to light without it interfering with melatonin production (people have noted improvements the same day they've started wearing them, put them on 2 - 3 hours before bed and only remove when you go to sleep)
- If stress or worry is keeping your mind alert practice some cognitive behavioural therapies to manage your stress levels and calm your mind.
- Refrain from looking at the clock once you go to bed or if you wake up during the night.
- If you haven’t been able to fall asleep in the first 20 minutes or if you wake up and can’t get back to sleep, get out of bed and go do something calming or relaxing until you feel sleepy again, don’t stay awake in bed looking at the ceiling.
- Incorporate 30 minutes of exercise into your schedule every day (ie. A walk in the afternoon, Pilates, swimming, bike riding +)
- Improve diet and ensure you are drinking enough water (on average 2 liters a day)
- Remove or make adjustments for any physical disturbances where possible - noises, lights, uncomfortable bed, temperature.
- Following these simple steps can help set you on the road to effective sleep and build a healthy sleep hygiene routine – improving your health, mood and energy levels.
For more information or to book a consultation with Angela Busby N.D. please call 0416-775-530 or book online by clicking the button below.