How good is your sleep hygiene?

Posted by Shop Stanmore on

We break down the best (and worst) habits

    
Sleep hygiene might not be a word that regularly drops into conversation,
but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. It refers to the habits around
your sleep that influence how good (or bad) your sleep is. Poor sleep
hygiene contributes to many sleep issues, including insomnia or disrupted
sleep. To build the best sleep hygiene possible, we’ve pulled together the
best and worst sleep habits to be mindful of.

        

   

Listen to your body clock

It might sound obvious, but tuning into your body’s internal clock is a great
way 
to improve your sleep. That means going to bed when you're tired,
not forcing sleep when you're alert and, most importantly, creating a
consistent routine so that your 
body gets into a good pattern. Your
circadian rhythm will quickly adjust to this new routine, but to help
enhance the process,try cutting back on blue light (TV, phones) in
the hour before bed, and exposing yourself to natural light upon waking.
      

Set yourself up for rest

Create a more calming atmosphere in the evenings before bed, with habits
like 
taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music, meditating, or going
through your skincare routine. Basically, anything that is mindful, doesn’t
involve 
technology, and allows you to slow down and unwind.
     

Place boundaries on bedroom activity

The bedroom should be for rest, recreation, and not much else. When you
start to 
make phone calls, watch TV, work, eat, or allow any other unrelated
activity into your bedroom, your mind starts to associate the space with those
activities. So naturally, when it comes time for bed, your mind will continue
racing. The same goes for ‘stuff’ in your bedroom. Aside from a bed, limit
what you store in your bedroom as much as possible. Tidy your clothes and
close wardrobe doors, keep minimal (or no) electronics in the room, have
soft lighting, and clean up clutter so your mind can fully relax in this space.
   

Invest in good sleep-time decor

Choose neutral colour palettes when decorating your room or buying organic,
natural bedding. Make sure your pyjamas and bedding maintain a comfortable
body 
temperature so you’re not waking up to remove or add layers in the
middle of the night. Crack a window for some fresh air or get an air purifier.
And make sure your mattress and pillow support you in an optimal way so
you’re not waking up stiff or breathing in allergenic, unnatural materials.
Additionally, invest in some good curtains that block out both light and
sound, 
so you can sleep more peacefully.

   

   

   

Technology

You knew it was coming - but having technology in the bedroom or using it
too 
close to bed spells bad news for your sleep habits. Cut back on tech
or try wearing blue light glasses, and have evening time limits set for your
apps  so your phone automatically cuts you off.
   

Substances

Try to limit caffeine after 2pm each day, but especially in the evening as this
will 
mess up your circadian rhythm and keep you awake later. The same
goes for cigarettes if you’re a smoker, as nicotine is a stimulant. Meanwhile,
alcohol might be a depressant, but too much before bed will also disturb
the rhythm of  sleep patterns, not to mention make you hungover in the
morning. And we all  know it’s much harder to stick to a sleep/waking
routine with alcohol in the mix.
 

Overactivity

As you get closer to your usual bedtime, it’s important to avoid too much
activity. 
That can include exercise, doing work or mentally demanding tasks,
and eating dinner too late. You want your body to be winding down so when
you hop into bed, you’re already in a dreamy state.
   

Napping

Napping throughout the day decreases the ‘Sleep Debt’ that is necessary
for 
easy sleep onset. When we take naps, it reduces the amount of sleep
that we need the next night – often resulting in interrupted sleep and a
departure from our usual routine. 
   

Lying in bed awake 

If you find yourself awake and your mind active for more than 10 minutes,
don’t just lie in bed feeling anxious. Get up, sit somewhere comfortable, and
give yourself time to just think. You could drink a glass of water or read a few
pages of a book - but whatever you do, don’t pick up your phone, watch TV,
or turn any bright lights on that disrupt your body clock. If you’re particularly
worried about something, it can even help to write all your worries down to
get them out of your system so you can fall back asleep knowing your
concerns have been noted.
   
   

    
The best way to build better sleep hygiene is to find a routine that works for you.
Humans are creatures of habit, so once you find a routine that sets you up for and
delivers on a proper restful sleep
, it won’t take long for those actions to become
automatic. Set time limits on your screen use, dim the lights, wear comfortable
clothing, and avoid exerting mental or physical energy too close to bed.
     
Whether you’re meditating, reading, stretching, journaling, or showering,
let your sleep routine be a way to unwind and let go of the day, so you’re
as 
rested as possible and ready for a better night’s sleep. 

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