The first step toward better sleep is better “sleep hygiene” – daily habits that train your body for sleep.
Set expectations for your mind and body by getting into a routine that signals when it’s time to wind down for sleep – which begins the moment you wake up in the morning! Here are the key factors that matter for your sleep hygiene.
Go to bed about the same time every night, including weekends.
2. Don’t sleep in
Keep your wake-up time consistent. Don’t sleep in on the weekends.
It’s best to avoid napping. If you must take a nap, set the alarm so you don’t sleep for more than an hour. Don’t take a nap after 3pm.
4. Keep to a schedule
This isn’t just about bedtime and wake-up time. It also means that eating meals, taking medications, exercise and even watching TV should occur about the same time every day, to keep your body clock in sync.
5. Avoid screens
Turn off the tablet, the TV and the phone. The blue light in your screen has the same effect on your brain as sunlight, which means it wakes you up just when you want to be drifting off.
6. Think spa bedroom
Make your bedroom a pleasant, peaceful and relaxing getaway. Get rid of exercise equipment and TVs, and try to discourage small children from coming into your bed.
7. Beds are for sleep and romance
Don’t use the bed for watching TV, talking on the phone, doing homework, or eating and drinking.
8. Work out early
Strenuous exercise is not a good idea right before bedtime. Try yoga.
9. Catch some morning rays
Sunlight keeps your internal clock ticking. Go outside as soon as you wake up and spend at least 15 minutes in the morning sun. (If it’s a particularly bright sun, use sunscreen.)
10. Cool it down
Cool bodies sleep better, but most people keep their bedrooms too warm at night, which can interfere with sleep. Taking a hot bath before bedtime is a good idea, because once you get out of the bath, your body cools down more quickly, which will help you drift off to sleep.