Get your sleep habits in tip top shape - WellStart Health

Building Better Habits

Get your sleep habits in tip top shape

Sleep hygiene can be defined as the habits that you follow around your sleep routine. Many of us don’t get enough sleep, and insufficient zzz’s are linked to elevated risk for numerous chronic conditions. But the good news is, there are some simple things you can do to improve the quality and quantity of your shut eye!

Get earplugs or a sound machine: Creating a quiet environment is key to quality zzz’s. Note that sleeping with a TV on is not a good idea as the sound is inconsistent and the light from the screen can be disruptive to your sleep.

Ban screens and turn clocks: Speaking of screens, try to keep your cellphone out of your bedroom.  Not only because of the light, but because all it takes is for Uncle Bob from across the country to forget the time zone and text you in the middle of the night for your sweet dreams to be rudely interrupted. If you rely on your phone as an alarm clock, purchase a separate alarm clock instead – but turn it away from view so you aren’t checking the hour every time you stir in the night.

Stay consistent: As much as possible, try keeping your bedtime and wake time uniform throughout the week. Also, create a routine that signals it’s time to wind down before bed. Lower the lights, light a candle, listen to soothing music, take a warm bath… Your body and brain will soon catch on! Also, avoid napping if at all possible. If you must take a nap now and then, limit it to 20 minutes.

Cut off the caffeine: Try to stop your coffee and caffeinated tea consumption by the end of lunch time. (You will want 4-6 hours between caffeine and bedtime, though this may vary among individuals). Even alcohol is known to interrupt normal sleep patterns, so avoid drinking close to bedtime. Additionally, a couple squares of dark chocolate make a great dessert, but give yourself some cushion between treat and pillow. (And no, that doesn’t mean putting your chocolate under your pillow).

Eat right – not late at night: Feeling full at bedtime can certainly make it more difficult to sleep well. Also, drinking too much liquid prior to hitting the sack will have you visiting the bathroom throughout the night. Overdoing the liquids at night can also exacerbate reflux.

Keep a sleep journal: One way to figure out where your sleep habits have gone off track is to keep a sleep diary of when you get in bed each night, when you fall asleep (record that one the next day), what time you wake up and what time you get out of bed.  Do this for a week or so and you might be surprised by the patterns that emerge!

 

Weekend movie recommendation: Engine 2 kitchen rescue (Netflix streaming or rent on amazon.com)

 

Sleep hygiene can be defined as the habits that you follow around your sleep routine. Many of us don’t get enough sleep, and insufficient zzz’s are linked to elevated risk for numerous chronic conditions. But the good news is, there are some simple things you can do to improve the quality and quantity of your shut eye!

Get earplugs or a sound machine: Creating a quiet environment is key to quality zzz’s. Note that sleeping with a TV on is not a good idea as the sound is inconsistent and the light from the screen can be disruptive to your sleep.

Ban screens and turn clocks: Speaking of screens, try to keep your cellphone out of your bedroom.  Not only because of the light, but because all it takes is for Uncle Bob from across the country to forget the time zone and text you in the middle of the night for your sweet dreams to be rudely interrupted. If you rely on your phone as an alarm clock, purchase a separate alarm clock instead – but turn it away from view so you aren’t checking the hour every time you stir in the night.

Stay consistent: As much as possible, try keeping your bedtime and wake time uniform throughout the week. Also, create a routine that signals it’s time to wind down before bed. Lower the lights, light a candle, listen to soothing music, take a warm bath… Your body and brain will soon catch on! Also, avoid napping if at all possible. If you must take a nap now and then, limit it to 20 minutes.

Cut off the caffeine: Try to stop your coffee and caffeinated tea consumption by the end of lunch time. (You will want 4-6 hours between caffeine and bedtime, though this may vary among individuals). Even alcohol is known to interrupt normal sleep patterns, so avoid drinking close to bedtime. Additionally, a couple squares of dark chocolate make a great dessert, but give yourself some cushion between treat and pillow. (And no, that doesn’t mean putting your chocolate under your pillow).

Eat right – not late at night: Feeling full at bedtime can certainly make it more difficult to sleep well. Also, drinking too much liquid prior to hitting the sack will have you visiting the bathroom throughout the night. Overdoing the liquids at night can also exacerbate reflux.

Keep a sleep journal: One way to figure out where your sleep habits have gone off track is to keep a sleep diary of when you get in bed each night, when you fall asleep (record that one the next day), what time you wake up and what time you get out of bed.  Do this for a week or so and you might be surprised by the patterns that emerge!

 

Weekend movie recommendation: Engine 2 kitchen rescue (Netflix streaming or rent on amazon.com)

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