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7 Ways to Revolutionize Your Sleep Hygiene for Your Health

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Editor's Note

Any medical information included is based on a personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health, please consult a doctor or medical professional.

We all know that getting enough sleep is critical for both our physical and mental health, but most of us experience periods in our life where we struggle to get enough quality sleep. In terms of self-care, getting enough sleep does not have the same allure as a full-body massage or heading off to an island resort, but it’s really a foundation to be able to function and think clearly to implement anything else.

During a stressful period in my life, I experienced months of getting no more than about four hours sleep each night and I got used to surviving on that. I even thought I was actually functioning well but what was really happening was that I was getting used to feeling tired and performing badly. It was only when I started putting some good bedtime routines in place that improved my overall sleep hygiene that I got more sleep and felt like a heavy fog cleared from my mind.

What does good sleep hygiene look like for you?

For me, the following seven practices have revolutionized my quality of sleep.

1. Put down the devices.

As hard as it to remove that phone from my hand, I try to have 30 minutes not addictively checking email, scanning Facebook or checking out the latest handbag before my regular bedtime.

2. No coffee after 2 p.m.

Unless George Clooney himself turns up to serve my Nespresso, I avoid having coffee after lunchtime. This also extends to other caffeinated drinks such as Coke.

3. No booze during the week and rarely close to bedtime on the weekend.

It doesn’t keep me asleep and actually leads to restless poor-quality sleep. I’ll admit to occasionally indulging in an Espresso Martini though, breaking rule number two and three on a weekend. Hey, a girl’s gotta live!

4. Sleep with a weighted blanket.

I purchased mine from Calming Blankets and it has helped improve my sleep, reducing the number of times I wake during the night. They tell me it’s due to proprioception which is one of our rarely talked about senses that informs the brain about your position in space, allowing it to relax and unwind.

5. Diffuse essential oils.

I have an essential oil diffuser and I use lavender, a relaxation blend or a sleep blend each night. It smells amazing and has really helped me get into wind-down relaxation mode.

6. Keep the room clean and tidy.

I always like things to be clean but I can get a bit untidy and slack with dusting when life gets hectic. Having a bedroom free from clutter and dust helps create a relaxing space for sleep.

7. Go to sleep listening to a guided meditation. 

This has really helped, especially when I have a lot on mind. I use the Insight Timer app which has thousands of free meditations. My favorites are sleep, yoga nidra or progressive relaxation meditations. The favorite one I have been listening to lately is this one.

What tips have you got for improved sleep duration and quality?

Getty Images photo via DigitalVision

Originally published: January 6, 2021
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