Unless you only watch reality TV and never read anything but a cereal box, you are likely aware of just how important recent scientific research has shown sleep to be. Studies have shown that getting or not getting enough sleep affects every area of our lives. Decisions we make now about skipping sleep for work or choosing socializing over sleeping can have long-ranging lasting implications. This is why so many of us are in search of some magic formula that is going to help us get to sleep and stay asleep every night.
Unfortunately, there is no magic cure for bad sleep hygiene. The good news is that you can make small changes that will gradually add up to helping you get a good night sleep every night. Here are four changes you can make today that will put you on a path to getting the sleep you need every night.
1. Go Back to Basics with a Bedtime
Bedtimes are not just for kids anymore. One of the things researchers have found that has the most lasting effect on our sleep hygiene is developing a regular routine. That routine starts with going to bed at the same time every night. Unfortunately, this means weekends too. It’s okay to deviate once in awhile but for now, consistency is key.
2. Get Up at the Same Time, Every Day
The next part of that all important routine is deciding what time you are going to get up in the morning, and getting up at that time every day. Again, this also applies to weekends. In some cases, this may be even more important than sticking to a single bed time. One of the sleep mistakes many of us make is that we think we can “make up for” lost sleep by sleeping in on the weekend. All this really does, however, is mess up our sleep schedule as we head into the next week, making it even less likely that we will get the sleep we need.
3. Stay Out of Debt
There will always be times when you need to sacrifice a little sleep for something more important. However, if you are routinely skipping sleep you are accumulating sleep debt. Think of it this way. If you continually chose to use your money for other things rather than pay your bills, you would wind up out on the street with nothing. If you are that careless with your sleep, you will end up just as broke, but it is your health that you will have lost.
4. Make Sacred Space
In today’s world, you will have to struggle to stick to your sleep schedule and everyone and everything around you will do their best to knock you off track. You have to stand strong and one of the most supportive things you can do for yourself is to make a sacred space for sleep. This means that the only things you do in your bedroom are sleep and have sex. No eating, exercising, working, watching TV, or interacting with other electronics.
- What You Don’t Know About Sleep Could Hurt You (valleysleepcenter.com)
- 4 Back to School Tips for Getting Kids Back to Bedtime (valleysleepcenter.com)
- The Connection Between Exercise and Sleep (valleysleepcenter.com)