10 Good Sleep Habits You Can Begin Today
Sleep is a necessity for living a healthy and productive waking life. However, many people struggle with getting enough rest each night. While lost rest can be attributed to a multitude of causes or stressors, you may just be practicing poor sleep habits, without knowing it.
May is National Better Sleep Month, which is a time designated for recognition and promotion of the important role sleep plays in a healthy, happy life. But you need sleep every month of the year, so here are ten good sleep habits, recommended by the National Sleep Foundation, that you can begin doing today, and enjoy better rest beginning tonight:
- Sleep on a set schedule.
Creating a sleep schedule that fits into your life, and allows you to enjoy seven to nine hours of sleep each night will help you sleep much better at night. Choose a bedtime and a wake-up time, and then try to stick to your schedule of going to sleep and waking up at the same times each day. Don’t forgo your routine on the weekends, and you’ll help your body clock adjust to a regular routine that will benefit you with good, quality sleep on a consistent basis.
- Create a relaxing bedtime ritual that you enjoy, and do it every night before you go to sleep.
Creating a relaxing bedtime ritual can help you unwind and prepare for a good night’s rest, and train your body to anticipate and look forward to sleeping all night. You can try soothing activities like taking a warm bath, enjoying a cup of caffeine-free herbal tea, or reading a book. Your ritual should take place during the hour before your bedtime.
- Avoid taking afternoon naps.
Even though it might be tempting to catch a quick nap during the afternoon, this habit can ultimately interrupt your sleep patterns and keep you awake at night. If you are feeling sleepy in the afternoon, take a short walk or have a healthy snack to pump up your energy level.
- Add exercise into your daily routine.
According to a study published in the journal, Mental Health and Physical Activity, people who exercised at least 150 minutes per week slept better at night than those who did not include any physical activity into their day. Add exercise into your daily routine, and see how much better you sleep at night.
- Give your bedroom a sleep-inducing makeover.
If you are having trouble sleeping at night, then your bedroom may need a sleep makeover. Make sure that your room is clean and keep the lights down and screens off at bedtime. Also, keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature of 60-67 degrees so that you are not too cold or too hot at night. You can also consider adding a fan, a humidifier, or a white noise machine to your bedroom as well.
- Make sure your bed and pillows are clean and comfortable.
If your bed and linens are clean and cozy, your bed will be much more welcoming as you lay down to get your needed sleep at night. Also, make sure that your mattress is the right level of supportive and soft to avoid waking up with body aches and pains.
- Dim your lights in the evening.
Turning down your lights, or using lamps in the evening will signal your body that it is time to calm down, unwind, and prepare for sleep. For great sleep, you should also make a habit of limiting your screen time, including TV and cell phone use, in the hour before you go to sleep.
- Avoid alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, or heavy meals close to your bedtime.
Alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, or heavy meals can interfere with your sleep quality and interrupt your sleep patterns.
- Give yourself time to wind down before trying to sleep.
Make sure you give yourself time to unplug and relax before you go to sleep. If you try to go to bed without relaxing and preparing for sleep beforehand, your body and mind may still be energized and awake, which will cause you to have troubles falling asleep easily and quickly.
- Relax in another room, doing a calming activity, if you do not fall asleep quickly.
If you are having trouble falling asleep, then go into another room and read quietly by lamplight, or do another relaxing activity you enjoy. Try to go to sleep again once you feel completely relaxed and tired.
Sleeping troubles that occur frequently over the course of several months may be signaling an underlying sleep disorder or health issue. A sleep study done by a sleep expert can help you understand if your sleep troubles are being caused by something bigger than bad habits.