All About Sleep Hygiene | Win Your Week #42

All About Sleep Hygiene | Win Your Week #42

Win Your Week is our weekly series on mindfulness, meditation and life hacks. This week we're talking about sleep hygiene - a practice that is vital for overall health and wellbeing. Enjoy!

When you jump into bed, does it take you forever to fall asleep? Or are you out like a light the minute your head hits the pillow… only to wake up at 2 am, tossing and turning? If either of these sounds like you, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Our bodies aren’t meant to go from a state of alertness to suddenly drifting off to sleep— they’re meant to slowly unwind.

That's where sleep hygiene comes in. A more restful night sleep may simply be a matter of adjusting your habits through some basic sleep hygiene practices.  

What is sleep hygiene?

Sleep hygiene involves practices that help create the ideal conditions for healthy sleep. Some sleeping problems are the result of bad sleep habits reinforced over years. Sleep hygiene aims to combat this through the development of a healthy sleep routine that involves healthy habits, behaviours and environmental factors to help you have a good night sleep. 

What are the signs of poor sleep hygiene?

The most obvious signs that you have poor sleep hygiene are trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, and feeling fatigued and foggy throughout the day. Not only does a poor night sleep make us feel tired during the day, but sleep deprivation also slows our reflexes, interferes with decision-making, and quashes creativity. In addition, failing to get enough sleep can also make us feel anxious or sad.

The good news? We have some simple sleep hygiene habits that encourage better rest and help you stay refreshed during the day.

Tips for Better Sleep Hygiene

Tip #1: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

Even if you haven’t slept well during the night, be consistent with the time you go to bed and wake up. Getting up at your usual time will increase your “sleep drive,” and help you sleep better the next night. Being consistent with your sleep and wake time times sets your body’s internal clock to expect to rest at a certain time each day.

Tip # 2: Create a relaxing bedtime/pre-bedtime routine.

Whether you choose to have a warm bath, read a book, or listen to sleep music, any relaxing activity around an hour before bed helps creates a smoother transition between wakefulness and sleep.

These activities help eliminate stress, overstimulation and the racing throughs which can keep us awake and tossing and turning, contributing to a poor night’s sleep.

One super popular night time routine with Cashmere Syrups customers is using our Black Cherry Syrup to create a delicious Black Cherry flavoured tea.

Tip #3: Keep your room cool and comfortable.

The ideal room for sleeping is cool, quiet, and dark. A room temperature of around 18oC is most conducive to restful sleep. It might also be worth a small investment in a really comfy pillow & mattress - your mind & body will thank you!

Tip #4: Dim the lights after dark.

While natural light during the day is important for keeping your circadian rhythms (body clock), on a healthy sleep-wake cycle, bright light from lamps and electronics at night, can interfere with these same natural cycles, making it harder to fall asleep. Light, such as blue light from electronics, effects the release of melatonin, the hormone that tells our body it’s time to wind down. Try dimming the lights once you get into bed. 

Tip #5: Unplug an hour before bed.

Limit screen use at least an hour before bed, for quality sleep. Games, videos, work emails, and social feeds not only give of stimulating blue light, but they also keep your mind active — and keep you awake for longer. Sleep with your phone in another room or somewhere out of reach, if possible. Alternatively, try putting your phone in “Do Not Disturb”/night-time mode or keep it face down to stop alerts from your phone during the night.

Tip #6: Steer clear of coffee, alcohol, and certain foods late in the day.

Avoid beverages and foods that contain caffeine — coffee, non-herbal tea, colas, even chocolate — at least 6 hours prior to bedtime as they are stimulants and can interfere with your sleep. 

Alcohol can also interfere with the quality of your sleep as it alters your “sleep architecture,” - the natural flow of sleep through different stages including deep sleep, REM sleep, and light sleep. Alcohol can also lead to more restless sleep, diminishing sleep depth and quality, so you feel more fatigued in the morning.

Citrus, spicy food, fatty or fried food, and heavy meals can trigger indigestion, which can mean a night of misery. It takes your stomach 3 to 4 hours to empty, so when you lie down shortly after a big meal, your digestive juices are still moving, resulting in burning chest pain and disrupted sleep. 

Tip #7: Limit or avoid naps during the day.

While a short power nap can lift your mood and leave you more refreshed, it won’t make up for poor quality sleep at night. If you experience trouble sleeping, it may be best to avoid naps altogether. A late-afternoon snooze will decrease your sleep drive, making it harder to drift off at bedtime.

Over to you...

Hopefully you can apply some of these sleep hygiene practices in your life and start to see your sleep quality improve as well as  your alertness and focus during the day. Be sure to let us know how you go with this one.

Now go out and win your week!