Tips For Getting A Good Night's Sleep.

Tips For Getting A Good Night’s Sleep.

I was recently asked if I was practicing proper sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene involves habits and practices that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis. I have suffered on and off from insomnia for about 7 years. Sometimes the insomnia is severe, other times it’s a mild nuisance. I decided I better do a little research into what is involved in practicing proper sleep hygiene. It turns out I am already doing a lot of what is recommended. However, I do watch Netflix on my laptop in bed, so I must work on breaking that habit. What about you? Do you practice good sleep hygiene?

Getting a good night's sleep every night is essential for our overall health, wellness and happiness. Most of us realize that if we lose a few hours of sleep, we can become tired and cranky the next day, we may have trouble maintaining focus and concentration, have difficulty staying alert, or being in a positive mood. All of these symptoms can occur after just one night of poor sleep.

I have put together a list of 5 things you can do to improve your sleep.

  1. Try to create a routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. This routine can help set your body’s internal clock and enhance the quality sleep you have. Establish a bed time when you feel tired, therefore avoiding tossing and turning once you turn out the lights. This can help ensure you’re getting enough sleep, prompting you to wake naturally as opposed to waking to an alarm.

  2. Make healthy food and beverage choices. It's probably not a surprise that some foods are great for sleep while others can be disruptive. Limiting or avoiding processed and fast foods can be very helpful. These foods can cause digestive upset such as acid reflux or heartburn, which can make falling and staying asleep very challenging. As well, don’t eat too close to bedtime. If you’re really hungry after dinner, you can have a light snackEating a nutrient dense diet provides the vitamins and minerals that help keep you alert and productive during the day, as well as enabling a deep, quality sleep at night. As for beverages, it might seem obvious to suggest reducing your caffeine intake, but did you know that caffeine can cause sleep issues up to 12 hours after consumption? I have completely removed caffeine from my life and it has made a huge difference. Consuming alcohol close to bedtime may seem like a solution for inducing sleep, but it is very disruptive during the second half of our sleep as our body starts to metabolize the alcohol which can wake us up, and make it difficult to get back to sleep. What about water? It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day. It’s a good idea to get all of your water in during the day, and reducing water intake in the evening, as this can cause disruptions in your sleep by forcing you to get up to use the bathroom.

  3. Keep electronics out of the bedroom. Electronic devices including TV's, tablets, laptops, cellphones, and e-readers should be put away at least an hour before bedtime. The content may be stimulating and keeping you awake as you watch "just one more youtube video" or read "just one more post." Furthermore, the light they emit tricks your internal clock into believing it's daylight which delays the release of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep.

  4. Keep your room dark, quiet and cool. Light is bad for sleep as it tricks your body into thinking it’s time to wake up. Keep your room dark by putting heavy curtains on the windows, or wear a sleep mask. Keep your room quiet. Noise can keep you awake so if you're struggling to sleep because of noisy neighbours, street sounds, a neighbours barking dog, try using earplugs or try "white noise." Fans and sound machines that make continuous rhythmic sounds can be both relaxing and aid in reducing distracting noises. Keep your room cool. As you go to sleep your body temperature begins to drop as it prepares itself for slumber. Keeping your room at a cool but comfortable temperature can aid the process of cooling your body. I know I cannot sleep if I’m too hot.

  5. Incorporate relaxation techniques into your evening routine. To help get your body and mind prepared for sleep, try some relaxing activities such as deep breathing, meditation, and stretching. All of these can help ease the stresses in your body and mind before bedtime. Take a warm bath with a nice relaxing essential oil such as lavender. Lavender not only smells lovely, it is also calming and may help induce sleep. Light candles in your bathroom and turn off the bright lights. Keep a gratitude journal and write down 3 or more things that happened that day which you are grateful for. This practice helps you head to bed with happy thoughts. Leave all anger, worry, and stress at the bedroom door. You can’t do anything about them at bedtime, so don’t let them have a negative impact on your sleep.

Try as many of these as you can and keep me posted on how you're sleeping!

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