May is Better Sleep Month so here are 5 ways to improve your sleep hygiene. I think we all know that the recommended amount of sleep is about 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep a night. Sleep has been found to be imperative for not just physical, but also mental and emotional health. The goal is not only to get more sleep but also better quality sleep. Sometimes getting 6 hours of deep, restful sleep can be better than 8 hours of light intermittent sleep.
So here are 5 ways to improve your sleep hygiene.
Stick to a sleep schedule for better sleep hygiene.
Life sometimes gets in the way but try and go to sleep and get up at the same time daily. Just like kids prefer schedules, so do we. This can help you sleep better by getting your body into a good rhythm and daily pattern.
Controversial… if you even have time to nap (I don’t!), try not to. Seems counterintuitive when you just want sleep but taking long naps can mess with your nighttime sleeping. Don’t get into the vicious cycle. If you must take them to fight your exhaustion, limit those naps to under 30 minutes.
Your bed is a sleep-only zone.
Another possibly controversial one. Make your bed a sleep-only zone. Don’t scroll through social media, watch TV, or stimulate your brain while in bed. Keep your room dark, cool, and free from loud noises or distractions. Invest in some black-out curtains or a sleep mask to help set the sleep mood. Check if your phone has a bedtime routine where it automatically sets itself to do not disturb during designated sleep hours. This can do wonders for your sleep hygiene!
Limit your caffeine intake.
Limit your caffeine intake late in the day. Yes, some days we need more coffee or tea than others but try and avoid it late in the day and especially after dinner. Stick to herbal teas that have no caffeine and sadly, steer clear of chocolate that also has caffeine in it!
Relax before sleep time.
For better sleep hygiene don’t try and exercise too close to bedtime or do work very late. Keep your workouts earlier in the day (they’re important too!) and give yourself some downtime prior to sleeping if you have to do work in the evenings. Try and listen to some sleep meditation (I love Calm and Insight Timer apps) or use some ambient sounds like a white noise machine. If you have a hard time relaxing or your stress and mental health are suffering, make sure to seek professional help before things get worse.
So go get that sleep hygiene in check.
In the end, treat yourself how you would treat your kids when they were infants or toddlers. You slept trained them so sleep train yourself to improve your sleep hygiene. And remember, these tips aren’t just good for you, they work for your partners and those teens that might be struggling with their sleep too! Use Better Sleep Month as an excuse and implement these tips for better sleep year-round.
What changes will you make to improve your sleep hygiene and get better sleep??
Originally published May 2022