First things first, ‘sleep hygiene’ is a misleading term. Because while it may conjure up visions of showers and linen getting tossed into a washing machine, it actually refers to practices and habits that promote improved sleep quality and daytime alertness.
Sleep is vital to our physical and mental wellbeing, and it’s essential that we get the right amount for our individual needs and lifestyle.
How can I improve my sleep hygiene?
One of the most critical sleep hygiene practices is to spend an appropriate amount of time asleep in bed, not too little or too much. Sleep needs vary from person to person, but generally, good sleep hygiene practices include:
Short naps of 20 to 30 minutes have been shown to improve moods, alertness and performance. Napping too long, however, can negatively impact nighttime sleep.
Avoid stimulants like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine close to bedtime. Also steer clear of foods that may disrupt your sleep by causing indigestion, like fatty, fried meals, spicy dishes, citrus fruits and carbonated drinks.
As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercises, such as walking or cycling, can drastically improve nighttime sleep quality.
Exposure to sunlight during the day and darkness at night has shown to help maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
A regular nightly routine helps the body recognise that it’s bedtime. This could take the form of a hot shower, reading or some light stretches.
Tuck yourself in
Make yourself comfy with a good quality bed and a cold temperature. Turn down the lights and try to avoid cellphone, television and laptop screens.
You can also consider blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, ‘white noise’ machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices that make your bedroom more relaxing.
And if you need extra sleep assistance, take Releaf Theanine, a caffeine antagonist that may help temporarily promote relaxation and maintain healthy sleep.