The benefits of quality sleep are endless, but a majority of us are not getting enough of it! According to the Sleep Foundation, 35.2% of all adults in the U.S report sleeping less than 7 hours per night.
Habitually getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night is associated with the development of chronic conditions including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Scary, right? Well, we are going to help you get a healthy amount of sleep by cleaning up your sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene is the maintenance of our environment and daily routines that help promote consistent, uninterrupted, and high-quality sleep. Here are a few tips to help you get into a routine and improve your sleep.
Tip #1: Set a Sleep Schedule
For those of us with busy work schedules during the week, getting a few extra hours on the weekends can feel like the perfect catch-up. But what if we told you that your 'catching up' may actually be putting you behind.
Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day is a vital part of sleep hygiene. Variance in your sleep schedule can prevent your body from getting into a consistent sleep rhythm, making it impossible to feel awake in the mornings or ready for bed at night.
You can still enjoy the luxuries of the weekend by lounging in bed for a while longer than usual, but try to keep that alarm clock consistent!
Tip #2: Develop and follow a nightly routine
How you prepare for bed plays a huge role in your sleep quality. Developing and sticking with a consistent pre-bedtime routine can help us get to sleep easier and stay asleep longer.
Here is a sample playbook:
Shower and brush teeth
Put on comfortable clothes
Put on some light music
Dim the lights
Power off electronics
Read, stretch or spend quality time with a friend or partner
Get in bed
By sticking with a routine like this every night, our body's own patterns will begin to change. When the lights dim, you'll begin to feel sleepy knowing that bedtime is right around the corner.
Doing a quick tidy of your space as part of this routine can be helpful too! No waking up in the middle of the night wondering if you ran the dishwasher because you made it part of your nightly routine!
Need some relaxation exercises to do before bed? We got you covered. Click here!
Tip #3: Think about sleep, before it's bedtime
Many of us are living fast-paced, sometimes hectic lives, and we really only think about sleeping when we hit the sheets. In order to maintain proper sleep hygiene, it is important to think about how your habits during the day can affect your sleep at night.
Do you grab an iced coffee on your way home from the office? What about a glass of wine when you get home? Maybe you smoke or have a habit of eating dinner late. These are all habits that we can change during the day to help us later on.
Smoking: We all know that smoking is not a healthy habit in any sense, but unfortunately many individuals struggle with a tobacco or nicotine addiction. Studies have shown that despite the stress-relieving feeling of satisfying a tobacco or nicotine addiction, it has extremely detrimental effects on sleep quality. Just another reason why it may be time to kick that habit! Find support to help you quick smoking here
Alcohol: But wait, I thought alcohol makes me feel tired and helps me fall asleep? Maybe so, but it isn't helping with your sleep quality. Falling asleep is one thing; staying asleep is another. Even moderate amounts of alcohol can decrease sleep quality by up to 24%. What is a moderate amount of alcohol you ask? Moderate consumption equates to roughly 2 drinks for men and 1 for women. With not much to work with and a whole lot of sleep quality to sacrifice, try finding an alternative, stress-relieving habit that won't keep you tossing and turning at night.
Caffeine: This is a no-brainer. Caffeine is a stimulant and can have our minds and bodies feeling restless even if we are tired. You know that feeling when you want to sleep but just can't get yourself there. Yeah, it's the worst. The Sleep Foundation recommends discontinuing caffeine consumption after 4 pm. You don't have to skip out entirely though! Try a decaffeinated tea or coffee, or a caffeine-free beverage instead.
Fun Fact: Decaffeinated beverages still contain caffeine so if you are sensitive to caffeine, opt for something caffeine-free entirely.
Bonus tip: Increasing physical activity during the day can help improve your sleep hygiene!
Whether you want to start your day with us or end it, we have class all throughout the day. Give it a try, you'll be glad you did!
Author: Brierley Lloyd