How well you sleep often comes down to your bedroom environment and routine, also known as sleep hygiene. If you struggle to rest easy at night, it might be time to make some adjustments.
Poor sleep can lead to feeling exhausted during the day, which poses a risk to your safety as well as the safety of others; in fact, drowsy driving is one of the many risks of insufficient sleep which leads to over 6,000 fatal car accidents every year in the U.S. Beyond the safety issue, it is also linked to a host of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, depression, and more.
Here, the experts at Hush, a bedding and mattress brand based in Canada, share five tips to improve your sleep hygiene and ensure you sleep well at night.
Be consistent with your bedtime routine
Never underestimate the importance of a bedtime schedule—being consistent is vital to help your body’s circadian rhythm match your desired bedtime. Going to bed at the same time and repeating steps like brushing your teeth before bed will allow your body to associate sleep with your routine and release melatonin, known as the sleep hormone.
Allow time for relaxation
Instead of turning on the TV to watch your favorite show or using your phone just before bed, opt for a wind-down period that requires no screens. The blue light from screens delays the production of melatonin, thus preventing you from getting into a deep sleep quickly—so it’s best to prepare for the night by eliminating this. Try delving into a book or take a warm bath. Once you get out, your body cools quickly and imitates the natural cooling that happens when your body prepares for sleep to help you feel more tired.
Add exercise to your daily routine
Exercising regularly isn’t only beneficial for your physical health, it can have a positive impact on your sleep hygiene, too. Incorporating moderate-to-vigorous exercise into your daily routine increases time spent in deep sleep by using up lots of energy, therefore making you feel fatigued. However, be sure to keep the last three hours before you go to bed free of exercise to avoid increased heart rate, body temperature, and adrenaline that make you feel more awake.
Eliminate light and noise
Blocking light and noise isn’t as simple as closing the drapes and keeping your bedroom door shut. It may do the trick to an extent, but there’s still ways for both light and noise to creep into your bedroom and disrupt your sleep at night. Investing in a blackout curtain prevents light from disrupting melatonin production, or consider wearing a blackout eye mask. As for noise, consider a white noise machine, which covers up irregular sounds by creating steady and soothing background noises, such as static or ocean waves.
Ensure your bedroom is a cool temperature
While you may expect that a warm bedroom will allow you to get comfortable and sleep well, it’s better for your sleep hygiene to sleep in a cool environment. Doing so reinforces your body’s instinct to sleep, as our temperature drops near bedtime as a signal to get some rest. As well as this, a cool bedroom regulates your body temperature to prevent any disruptions and promotes melatonin production. So, if your bedroom is toasty, consider adding a fan to your room, leaving your window open, or even drinking water a few hours before bed to reap the benefits of its cooling effect.
Sleep is a vital part of our daily routine, and while many may think that a cup of coffee can help on those days when you’re suffering from little sleep, it’s only a short-term solution. Understanding the importance of good quality sleep is crucial, as a lack of rest can lead to many problems including high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression. With these simple tips, you can drastically improve your sleep hygiene to ensure that you are well rested at night.