8 Daily Habits for Better Sleep
Setting yourself up for a good night’s sleep is an all-day affair. Your daily habits—what you eat and drink, how you schedule your days, and how you choose to spend your evenings—can significantly impact your quality of sleep. From the time you wake up in the morning to the time you rest your head on your pillow, it’s very important to engage in healthy daily habits that encourage restful sleep. Today we’re going to offer you some guidance in that area with ten habits you can start today to promote deep, revitalizing sleep.
Limit daytime naps
Naps feel so good in the moment, but longer daytime naps can interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night. If you choose to take a daytime nap, limit yourself to twenty to thirty minutes and avoid doing so late in the day (after 5pm).
Avoid bright lights in the evenings
Bright lights and light-emitting screens can effect your circadian rhythm by tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and fall to sleep. Blue light—which electronic devices, such as smart phones and laptops, emit in large amounts—is the biggest culprit in this regard. To reduce your blue light exposure, stop using your devices at least two hours before bed. If you must use devices, wear blue light blocking glasses or install an app that blocks blue light. Don’t forget to turn the TV off two hours before bedtime, too.
Set an alarm for bedtime
Most people set an alarm to wake up, but you probably haven’t thought to set an alarm for bedtime. This habit can help you establish a regular sleep schedule, which can improve your sleep quality over time. Try setting your alarm for 10pm or 10:30pm and make that your signal to hop in bed, close your eyes, and drift off to sleep.
Create an ambiance for a successful sleep
Create a bedroom environment that tells your brain it’s time for sleep. In general, a quiet, cool, and dark room can help promote a sound slumber. To block out noise, use ear plugs or a white noise machine. Hang black out shades or heavy curtains, or wear an eye mask to block out light. Keep the temperature comfortably cool—around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure that you have a comfortable mattress (which should be replaced about every ten years), a supportive pillow, and enough space to move around freely.
Write out your thoughts
A list of to-dos swirling around in your head can prevent you from falling asleep. Try writing out whatever thoughts are occupying your mind in the evening. This helps to clear your mind so you can more easily drift off into dreamland.
Use 4-7-8 breathing
This simple breathing technique, also known as 4-7-8 breathing, involves breathing in through your nose for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds, and breathing out through your mouth for eight seconds. This breathing pattern helps to reduce anxiety, relieve tension, and induce sleep.
Exercise—at the right time
Being active for at least a half an hour a day can play a big role in getting better sleep, but be sure to do all vigorous exercise at least three hours before bed. That’s not to say you can’t do light activity such as stretching or yoga before bed. In fact, these types of gentle exercises might actually help you feel more relaxed and ready for sleep.
Avoid these three sleep disruptors
To get better sleep, it’s important to avoid these three things: drinking coffee after 2pm, eating within three hours of bedtime, and vigorously exercising within three hours of bedtime. These three things stimulate the body and can cause sleep disturbances.
Apply these tips today
Planning for a good night’s sleep starts in the morning. Be mindful of what you do throughout the day and incorporate as many of these helpful sleep habits as you can. With mindfulness and consistency, you’ll be on your way to restorative sleep in no time.