A good number of people have a hard time sleeping at night because of incorrect hygiene. When you’re tossing and turning and can’t seem to drift off to dreamland, you can try a few popular sleeping tricks. Some people find the soothing noise of white sound enough to provide the calm they need. Others stay awake deep in thoughts, which makes matters worse.
If your goal is to achieve better sleep patterns, you need to improve your sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene refers to bedtime routines that promote better sleep. We’ve rounded up effective and easy habits you should adopt to improve your sleep. Let’s jump right in.
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1. Ditch Caffeine and Other Stimulants
If you’re a coffee-lover, you probably enjoy a cup any time of the day whether it’s early morning or lazy noon. However, if you’re looking to improve your sleep quality, cut back on your caffeine intake. You see, caffeine is a stimulant, and its effects can last up to 7 hours after you’ve consumed it. Therefore, avoid taking substances containing caffeine such as tea, chocolate, colas, and some pain relievers before bedtime.
Also, avoid tobacco products and alcohol. While alcohol may induce sleep after a few hours, it’s also a stimulant and will awaken you multiple times at night. As a result, you won’t have a restful sleep.
2. Create a Consistent Sleep Schedule
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A consistent sleep schedule gets your brain and body accustomed to a full night of rest, thereby making it easier to fall asleep. To improve your sleep schedule you can follow some of these little tips:
- Set time waking and sleeping time: An inconsistent waking and sleeping time makes it harder to get into a rhythm of consistent and relaxing sleep. Make sure you sleep and wake up at the same time every day to prevent irregularities in your sleep pattern.
- Adjust your sleep gradually: If you want to adjust the time you sleep, don’t do cold turkey because it will mess up your inner sleep clock. Do it gradually by reducing or adding a few minutes every day until you get to where you want.
- Sleep for a minimum of 7 hours: Experts advise healthy adults to have at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day.
3. Take a Glass of Soy Milk
If you take a long time before falling asleep, you should take a glass of soy milk right before bed. Because of the U.S. Soybean Export Council, there’s no shortage of soy products on the market. But why is it beneficial for sleep? Soy is rich in tryptophan and increases the body’s sedative effect by increasing melatonin levels. Drinking soy milk comes up with unique advantage.
Soy is especially effective for menopausal and older women who have trouble falling asleep. This benefit is a result of the high content of isoflavones in the beverage.
4. Adopt a Relaxing Night Routine
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A relaxing bedtime routine soothes your body and makes it easier to drift off to sleep. Begin your nighttime routine 30 or 60 minutes before your bedtime. Your routine should include anything that makes you feel relaxed and won’t distract you from sleeping.
Consider the following examples:
- Taking a relaxing warm bath or shower
- Stretching to ease tension in your muscles
- Breathing exercises
- Reading a book (avoid reading from electronic devices)
5. Cultivate a Healthy Lifestyle & Hygiene
Your lifestyle also impacts your quality of sleep. Some of the ways to improve your lifestyle and sleep include:
- Physical activity: Exercising improves not only your health but also improves your sleep. However, don’t do it 30 minutes or an hour before bedtime. Doing so will only increase your energy levels and make it harder to fall asleep.
- Eat 3 hours before bedtime: This way, your body is done with most of the digestion when it’s time to sleep.
- Hydrate: Take plenty of water throughout the day. It will improve your health and sleep quality. However, avoid drinking too much water an hour before bedtime. Doing so will increase your waking times and may interfere with your sleep quality.
6. Manage Stress Before Bedtime
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Stress keeps your mind in a loop of negative thoughts that make it impossible to fall asleep. Identify some of the things that may stress you out before bedtime and avoid them—for instance, talking about stressful topics, working, and other stressors. Also, consider healthy ways to deal with stress, such as talking to a specialist and meditation.
Improving sleep hygiene is all about daily habits. Begin by setting a consistent sleep schedule and adopting a relaxing night routine. It won’t happen overnight, but you’ll eventually notice an improvement in the quality of your sleep. Incorporate the other tips as well for even better results. In the end, it is all about the ways you stick to for healthy well-being.