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Sleep Hygiene: Science-Backed Tips for Better Sleep

Improving your sleep for overall health gain!

Sleep hygiene is an important part of maintaining healthy sleep and improving sleep quality. Research and studies have identified habits and behaviors, or sleep hygiene, that help you get the sleep you’ve always wanted. With one in three adults in the U.S. not getting enough sleep, according to the CDC, sleep hygiene is an important aspect of our health many aren’t giving. Achieving sleep hygiene takes work and practice.

In this blog below, we have listed the top tips to start good habits to improve sleep, or establish your sleep hygiene. Check them out below!

Sleep Hygiene Tip #1 – Have a Bedtime Routine or Ritual

Good habits start with a routine. Establishing a bedtime routine will let your body know it’s time for bed. One of the most common and effective ways to wind down is with a warm bath or shower. Taking a warm bath or shower up to 90 minutes before bed increases sleep quality.

Sleep Hygiene Tip #2 – Turn Off your Electronics

We’re constantly plugged in and on our devices and it’s wrecking our sleep. Blue light from our phones, tablets, and televisions limit the production of melatonin and keep us awake. For the best sleep hygiene, shut down your electronics a few hours before bed. Also, turn off any notifications, vibrate alerts, or lights on your devices that can wake you up or distract you before bed.

Sleep Hygiene Tip #3 – Add Moderate Exercise

Regular exercise is one of the cornerstones of good health. Luckily, there are positive connections to sleep and exercise. Combining the two can lead to improved health and good habits. Intense exercise like running or heavy weightlifting can cause sleep disruptions, so it’s best to keep those activities to daylight hours.

Sleep Hygiene Tip #4 – Limit Caffeine and Caffeinated Drinks

Most of us can’t get through their day without their cup of joe. According to a study, up to 83% of adults in the United States consume caffeine daily. While nothing is as tasty as that first sip of coffee, indulging in an afternoon pick-me-up can cost you sleep later. Caffeine, a natural stimulate, works by interacting with your brain’s adenosine receptors that control sleep, alertness, and wakefulness. Limit the amount of coffee or caffeine consumed after 1-2 pm to reduce the alterations and loss of sleep

Sleep Hygiene Tip #5 – Limit Daytime Napping

Like caffeine, an afternoon power nap can help you get through the day and make it more difficult to fall asleep at night. Not only can napping prevent you from falling asleep at night, it can also make you more prone to waking up at night once you do fall asleep. The occasional nap won’t ruin your sleep forever. Studies have shown a midday nap is beneficial for cognitive functioning and creativity. If you need an afternoon siesta, it’s best to keep it short-about 10 to 20 minutes so you don’t disrupt your nighttime sleep too much.

Sleep Hygiene Tip #6 – Create a Comfortable Sleep Space

This one seems like a no-brainer, but we don’t realize how uncomfortable we are in our spaces until we can’t sleep. A room, or weather, that is too hot or too cold can wreck your sleep and leave you waking up a sweaty mess or hunting for more blankets. Room temperature is one of the key aspects to achieving good sleep. Our internal body temperature shifts throughout the day-with the lowest temperatures around daybreak and the highest before bed, which is why a warm bath helps lower our body temperature before bed.

Sleep Hygiene Tip #7 – Dim the Lights in your home/sleeping space

As it gets dark outside, inside should match. Natural light during the day helps regulate circadian rhythms, dimming the lights at night finishes the job. Dimming indoor lights helps your body prepare for sleep by releasing melatonin. Keeping the lights on, or at least too bright, inhibits melatonin production and keeps you awake. Research shows exposure to bright lights before bed delays and shortens your sleep. Exposure to light at night is also linked to anxiety and depression.

Sleep Hygiene Tip #8 – Manage Anxiety throughout the Day and Night

Managing anxiety is easier said than done. For those who suffer from chronic or even occasional anxiety, now how difficult it is to sleep with anxiety. Managing anxiety is vital to sleep hygiene. Anxiety is linked to sleep disorders like insomnia and chronic nightmares. What calms anxiety for one person might not work for another. Common ways to reduce anxiety in order to sleep include:

Using sound machines
Drinking chamomile tea
Sleeping with a weighted blanket
What works for one person might not work for another. Try a few different techniques.

Sleep Hygiene Tip #9 – Only use your Bed to Sleep

As cozy as it is to lie in bed and scroll through your phone, read, use your computer, or cuddle with your dog, those comforting activities can cost you sleep. A study conducted by a group of researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway found that not exclusively using your bed for sleep caused decreased sleep time, impaired cognition, sleep cycle disturbances. To keep your sleep hygiene in check, it’s best to avoid using your bed for anything other than its intended purpose.

Sleep Hygiene Tip #10 – Consistent Meditation

Mediation is having a moment. Thanks to smartphone apps and studies touting the benefits of mediation, the practice has grown from an underground movement to a well-documented way to get to sleep. Adding mindfulness meditation techniques to your routine is proven to help you sleep. A study of middle-age adults found that those who completed a mindfulness meditation awareness program as a part of a sleep hygiene clinic, reported improved sleep, less insomnia, and improved depression.

Sleep Hygiene Tip #11 – Limit Alcohol Consumption

Everyone who has ever had a drink knows alcohol can relax you and even put you to sleep. This depressant substance is falsely considered a sleep aid. The short-term effects of alcohol do promote sleep. However, in the long run, alcohol limits vital restorative sleep and leads to ill health. One study found that even one drink before bed can decrease your sleep quality by up to 24%. For healthy sleep hygiene, it is best to avoid alcohol before bed and if you are having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor.

Sleep Hygiene Tip #12 – Get Some Sunlight

That early morning sunshine that helps you wake up will also come in handy at bedtime. Not only does sunlight improve your mood, increase serotonin levels, and provide the all-important Vitamin D, catching some daily rays helps regulate circadian rhythms and aids in sleep. Regular exposure to sunlight also helps regulate melatonin production later at night. For those who work night shifts or other irregular hours, getting regular sun can be a challenge. If you miss out on daylight hours, try a sunlight lamp.

Are you in need of better seep hygiene? Or noticing a change in your feeling after sleeping and curious if you need a new one? Get in touch with the mattress professionals at BoxDrop North Spokane today to learn more or schedule your appointment! BoxDrop North Spokane located at 825 E Houston Ave, Suite 600 Spokane, WA 99208. Feel free to give us a call today to learn more or by connecting with us via our chat feature below! We look forward to getting you the best nights sleep possible!