For many people falling asleep can seem like an impossible dream where you’re often finding yourself awake at 3 am tossing and turning, but achieving a better night’s rest is more within your reach than you may realize. Incorporating healthy sleep habits into your daily life can make a significant difference in obtaining restful slumber.
These healthy habits, often referred to as sleep hygiene, have been identified by researchers to help you maximize the hours you spend sleeping even if your sleep is regularly impacted by jet lag, shift work, or mild insomnia.
In today’s digital world, getting a better night’s sleep can be challenging, but we have created the ultimate guide to help you make the sleep of your dreams a reality.
Establish A Routine
Sleeping and waking up at the same time each day helps to set your body’s internal clock, which will train your body to expect sleep at a specific time each day.
Establishing this routine is the first step to getting a better night’s sleep, and it’s crucial that on weekends you try to stick as closely as possible to your routine in order to avoid a sleep hangover on Monday morning.
Even if you have a poor night’s sleep, waking up at the same time each day will help you sleep better the following evening as it will allow your body to develop the right rhythm.
However, setting up your routine can be challenging on your own, and many people find that using a sleep app helps them to achieve their goals faster without falling back into old habits.
If you struggle to stick to new habits and need help establishing a better sleep routine, you could benefit from Rise Science’s sleep app. This app helps you understand how much sleep you owe your body and guides you into better patterns for more restful slumber night after night.
Relax Before Bed
Many people try to go straight from busy or using their phones to sleep, and without a transition from wakefulness to slumber with a period of relaxing activities for at least an hour before bed, you could struggle to achieve restfulness.
There are many activities you can choose to engage in to give your body and mind a chance to relax before bed, but you need to find what works for you while avoiding stressful or over-stimulating situations such as working or discussing emotional issues.
- Take a bath, as the rise and then fall of body temperature promotes drowsiness.
- Read a book.
- Watch television, but avoid anything too exciting.
- Practice relaxation exercises such as yoga or breathing techniques to help your body and mind unwind.
Psychologically or physically stressful actions can cause the body to begin secreting the stress hormone cortisol, which has been linked to an increase in alertness and can keep you from achieving a good night’s sleep.
If you have the habit of mulling over your problems in bed, you could try writing them down, and this trick helps your brain process how you feel, which allows you to put your issues to one side when it is time to sleep.
Set aside 15 minutes to write your problems down each evening, but end your journaling sessions by writing about a positive experience, as this will help you to reduce stress levels and improve your sleep.
Keep A Sleep Diary
Sometimes it can feel like you’re doing everything right to try and get a better night’s sleep, but you’re still struggling to get enough rest; when this happens, a sleep diary could help you work out what’s affecting your sleep.
Keeping a sleep diary involves recording your habits over two weeks to understand what the problem is and how you can improve your slumber. However, if you find there doesn’t seem to be an issue, it could be time to speak to a medical professional and show them your sleep diary to find a solution to your bedtime woes.
When keeping a sleep diary, you should bullet point as much information as possible about your day and evening to pinpoint what may be the cause of your restlessness.
- Record when you go to sleep and what time you wake.
- Include the total number of hours you slept.
- Rank the quality of sleep from one to five, one being poor and five being excellent.
- Note how many times you wake in the night, how long you’re awake, and what you do during this time.
- Record when you have nightmares, night terrors, sleep paralysis, or if you have sleepwalked during the night.
- Add any naps you take and for how long.
- Include any medication you take, what the dosage is, and what time you take it.
- Note the amount of caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol you have and how long before bed your intake was.
- Record the level of physical activity you do.
- Include what you eat and drink during the day and if you have anything overnight.
- Take notes on your general feelings and moods throughout the day, and include any repetitive or anxious thoughts.