Are you tired of tossing and turning at night? Are you struggling to control your thoughts when you try to sleep? Do you have good sleep hygiene?
No need to worry! Sleep hygiene is the answer to all your problems. This sleep hygiene checklist will help you sleep better and be more dynamic and efficient during the day.
You must have probably read and heard this phrase a million times – “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”. And you must have also read about daily morning rituals that can make your life successful. But what about night time routine? Isn’t it the most crucial factor in having a great morning routine?
The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
Sometimes I would sleep like a baby, other times, I would find it hard to sleep the whole night, and even if I manage to get some sleep, I’d get up in the middle of the night. The condition worsens when I am dealing with stress and anxiety. I don’t think that I am the only person who struggles to get a sound sleep. When I started having trouble sleeping, I was tempted to have some sleep medication and sleep-aids. But somehow I am scared of these drugs – firstly, I don’t want to get addicted to sleeping pills, and secondly, the side-effects that can make sleeping worse in the long run.
“Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to rest our brain and body health each day.”- Dr. Matthew Walker, Why We sleep
For the last few months, I have been following a specific nighttime routine that helps me fall asleep faster with no nighttime awakenings. I found this routine helpful especially when I am extremely stressed and anxious. 2020 was all about physical and mental hygiene. However, it also highlighted the importance of sleep hygiene that has a significant impact on overall well-being. So, I came up with a sleep hygiene checklist that prepared me to fall asleep comfortably with no nighttime breaks.
So, what is sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is essentially the sleep habits you follow. It is a combination of your environment and your behavior before sleeping and during the day. Your diet, schedule, environment, lifestyle, and many other activities play a crucial part in determining the quality of your sleep.
Good sleep hygiene is essential for mental and physical well-being. It can improve your productivity, immune system, and it keeps you energetic throughout the day. On the other hand, poor sleep hygiene can lead to stress, anxiety, weight gain, work performance, etc.
Therefore, it is critical to have good quality and restful sleep routine that can boost your energy and performance.
“If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.”~ Dale Carnegie
13 healthy sleeping hygiene checklist that will ensure that you sleep faster and longer.
1. Set an alarm to go to bed and wake up
The first rule to have a great sleep routine is to be consistent. It is important to sleep and wake up at the same time. This is easier said than done but once it becomes a habit, you’ll not need an alarm. Nightime alarm is a reminder to wind up and hit the bed. You can also track your sleep pattern on a sleep tracker.
2.Lay off electronics
Smartphones, tablets, and laptops stimulate our brain and that makes it hard to keep it down. It also emits blue light that decreases melatonin production, the body’s natural sleep-inducing hormone. Leave your electronic gadgets and devices in a different room at least 30-60 minutes before sleeping. If you have to keep your phone or tablet in your bedroom then put it on airplane mode and switch it on the night-mode.Prep yourself for a good night’s sleep.
3.Consistency is the key
Like for everything else in the world, a consistent routine is key to improve your sleep hygiene. Following the same steps each night – washing your face, brushing your teeth, reading a book, or skincare routine can tell your brain that it’s time to sleep.
Your bedroom should be like a Goldilock zone: neither too hot nor too cold – just perfect. Set the temperature that makes you comfortable at night. It’s hard to sleep if your bedroom is warm enough to make you sweaty and dehydrated. Your bedroom temperature not only affects the quality of sleep but also breaks your sleep at regular intervals.
5.Mindfulness or sleep meditation
“A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow”– Charlotte Bronte.
Isn’t it true! Sleeping is natural for our body and it shouldn’t be your goal. It will come naturally if you tame your ruffled mind and focus on relaxation. Sleep meditation, breathing exercises, and mindfulness exercises give a signal to your brain to relax and unwind. You can write a journal, try guided meditation and mindfulness app to prepare you to sleep.
6.Block out light – blackout curtains or a sleep mask
Our bodies have an inbuilt clock that makes us rise with the sun and sleep when it is dark. Blackout curtains create a dark environment in the room that not only blocks light from outside but also eliminates distraction. A sleeping eye mask can also help you drift into natural slumber wherever you are.
7.Diffuser with a soothing fragrance or oil
I am a big proponent of natural remedies, and essential oils are the natural sleep aid. Use a few drops of either lavender, vanilla, jasmine, or sandalwood oil in the diffuser, or you can also make a unique blend for yourself. Essential oils promote the feeling of relaxation and allow you to fall asleep quickly. Fun Fact: Do you know that Only smell goes directly to the brain’s emotion and memory chamber. That’s the reason why you feel happy smelling roses or get nostalgic.
8. 2 Hours gap between last meal and sleep
While you can have healthy snacks at night, it’s best to avoid large meals before sleeping. The food you consume before sleeping can disrupt your sleeping pattern and may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. A healthy snack is a good option before bed as it will make you feel satiated and will keep indigestion at bay.
9.Keep your bed for bed related activity only
It’s vital to improve your sleep environment. Fresh bedding, pillows, and mattress play a crucial role in giving you a peaceful and uninterrupted sleep. Your bed must be reserved only for bed-related activities – sleep and sex.
10.Sleep on your left side
Sleep position is a matter of preference but it’s recommended to sleep on your left side. It is not only good for digestion, our backs but also the heart.
11. Drink hot tea or milk
It’s an old fashioned way to make you fall asleep instantly. From herbal teas to turmeric milk, these sleep-inducing hot drinks before bed have a calming effect on our minds. Chamomile, peppermint, and valerian teas are natural sleep-inducing tea flavors that can help you catch some good nights’ rest.
12. Declutter your brain and space
If it’s nothing else, it’s worry and anxiety that’s bothering your sleep hygiene. Declutter your mind and dump all your worries, fears, and anxieties in your journal. Trust me- it only takes 15 minutes, and it can tame your mind. Also, declutter your space so that it can bring in some positive energy to calm your senses.
13. Weighted Blanket
This is one ubiquitous blanket that you might find everywhere on the internet these days. Right from Pinterest to gift guides, a weighted blanket is everywhere. But does it work? The answer is complicated as it might work for some people while others might find weighted blanket suffocating. According to a study, a weighted blanket can reduce your stress levels and anxiety. It creates deep pressure stimulation that has a calming effect on our body. Therefore, it makes it easy for you to fall asleep faster.
While these are some lifestyle adjustments that can help you sleep faster, it might not work for everyone. You must have good sleep hygiene to encompass a sound sleep routine. I hope this healthy sleep hygiene checklist make sleep your superpower and you have a wonderful morning the next day.
However, if you still cannot sleep peacefully then consult your doctor as it’s always better to find the underlying problem and get a cure.