August 21st, 2018 | Updated on February 25th, 2019
Sleeping well directly affects your mental and physical health and the quality of your waking life. Fall short and it can take a serious toll on your daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance, and even your weight.
Yet many of us regularly toss and turn at night, struggling to get the sleep we need. There is a solution. Making simple but important changes to your daytime routine and bedtime habits can have a profound impact on how well you sleep, leaving you feeling mentally sharp, emotionally balanced, and full of energy all day long.
If you want to optimize your health or lose weight, then getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do.
Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in your quality of life. Having healthy sleep habits is often referred to as having good sleep hygiene. Try to keep the following sleep practices on a consistent basis:
1. Stick To A Sleep Schedule Of The Same Bedtime And Wake Up Time, Even On The Weekends
Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
2. Practice A Relaxing Bedtime Ritual
A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.
3. Take A Bath Before Bedtime
We should learn from babies. They often sleep instantly after they are given a bath. Bathing helps the body relax; as you bathe, visualize the tiredness of the day washing away.
4. Don’t Lie Down Until You’re Very Sleepy
Listen to music or read a book or knit a sweater – whatever floats your boat. Continue with your hobby until you are yawning and rubbing your eyes and all you want to do is lie down and sleep.
5. Avoid Sleeping In—Even On Weekends
The more your weekend/weekday sleep schedules differ, the worse the jetlag-like symptoms you’ll experience. If you need to make up for a late night, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping in. This allows you to pay off your sleep debt without disturbing your natural sleep-wake rhythm.
6. Fight After-Dinner Drowsiness
If you get sleepy way before your bedtime, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating, such as washing the dishes, calling a friend, or getting clothes ready for the next day. If you give in to the drowsiness, you may wake up later in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.
7. Comfortable Clothes
Wear loose and light clothes. You’re falling asleep and nobody is watching you, so get rid of what you think is trendy.
8. Exercise Daily
Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
9. Zero Electronics
Turn off all electronic devices, including the TV, laptop, iPad, mobiles and even the Wi-Fi. Your bedroom is a place for you to sleep and relax in–not to work and surf the internet in. You’re likely to stay up longer if you’re using an electronic device while trying to sleep.
10. Evaluate Your Room
Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light.
Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes a bed partner’s sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.
11. Dark Room
Some people cannot sleep if the light is coming through from somewhere. Get a think pair of curtains or maybe just a good sleep mask. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes partner’s sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using darker curtains, sleeping masks, ear plugs for snoring, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.
12. Keep Noise Down
If you can’t avoid or eliminate noise from neighbors, traffic, or other people in your household, try masking it with a fan or sound machine. Earplugs may also help.
13. Keep Your Room Cool
Most people sleep best in a slightly cool room (around 65° F or 18° C) with adequate ventilation. A bedroom that is too hot or too cold can interfere with quality sleep.
14. Sleep On A Comfortable Mattress And Pillows
Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of allergens that might affect you and objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up.
15. Don’t Try Too Hard
Been in bed for an hour and still cannot sleep? Do something else. Don’t stress yourself to sleep. It will make it even harder to drift off. Just get up, go have water, walk around the house or read a book. Stop thinking about sleeping for a while and sleep will come to you itself.
16. Limit Caffeine And Nicotine
You might be surprised to know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it! Similarly, smoking is another stimulant that can disrupt your sleep, especially if you smoke close to bedtime.
17. Avoid Big Meals At Night
Try to make dinnertime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed. Spicy or acidic foods can cause stomach trouble and heartburn.
18. Avoid Alcohol Before Bed
While a nightcap may help you relax, it interferes with your sleep cycle once you’re out.
19. Progressive muscle relaxation
Starting with your toes, tense all the muscles as tightly as you can, then completely relax. Work your way up to the top of your head.
20. Visualizing A Peaceful, Restful Place
Close your eyes and imagine a place that’s calming and peaceful. Concentrate on how relaxed this place makes you feel.