How easily can you fall asleep? Everyone has their own sleep patterns. Some are out when their heads hit the pillow. Some have to mentally sort their day before sleep is possible. Some struggle to stay asleep through the night; but we all have healthy sleep habits or poor sleep hygiene. This is that essential factor that determines whether it is easier or harder for you to fall asleep, sleep restfully, and wake up refreshed thanks to quality of sleep. Within your own style of sleep, everyone can improve their sleep hygiene by choosing a few consistent sleep-supportive behaviors in your daily routine and within a couple of hours of sleep.
Sleep hygiene is how well your lifestyle supports healthy sleep at night. We all know a few sleep hygiene tips, but few people know all the little tricks we can use to improve the depth and quality of our nightly sleep.
- Bedtime and waking time
- Bedtime routine and morning routine
- Mattress support and temperature
- Airflow and white noise
- Bedding weight, weave, and washing
- Personal nutrition and caffeine
- Exercise and workout timing
- Stress level and bedtime activities
- Electronics, bright light and blue light
- Napping and energy
The factors of sleep hygiene are connected only by how they promote good sleep. Sleep hygiene includes a wide span of behaviors including when you sleep, what you consume, how much blue light you’re exposed to, and the design of your bedroom. This leaves the door open for anyone to improve their sleep hygiene by improving one or more of these factors.
Sleep is essential to our physical and mental functions. Without sleep, our bodies and minds cannot rest. Your memories won’t process from short-term to long-term memory. Your muscles won’t properly process lactic acid. Your injuries won’t recover as quickly and your mind will lack the rest it needs to focus the next day. Poor sleep can be almost as bad as no sleep at all.
By improving your sleep hygiene, you can improve the overall quality of your sleep. For example, a comfortable and breathable bed will keep you from waking up overheated in the night, keeping you at a comfortable temperature, while exercising at the right time will help your body relax and rest when you lay in bed for sleep.
If you want to wake up better rested in the morning, good sleep hygiene is the key. Let’s dive into the best ways to improve your sleep hygiene and build a better daily routine for deep, all-night sleep.
One of the most important factors of good sleep hygiene is a consistent waking and sleeping time. Go to bed at the same time every night and prioritize sleep – don’t sacrifice an hour from sleep for other things. Use an eye mask if necessary.
This consistency actually trains your brain (changes your internal clock) on when to provide you energy and when to get sleepy before bed. With a consistent schedule, you can both feel more energized during the day and fall asleep easier at night – or whenever you need to sleep.
Your body associates temperature with time to sleep as well. A sudden drop in body temperature says “night time” to your deepest animal senses. This means you can actually manipulate your body into being ready for sleep with a little temperature planning. Cool down the house or allow it to get cold (depending on the season) and then take a hot bath. Soak in the hot water of a bath or shower for at least fifteen minutes. Allow yourself to relax in the heat.
Then step into the cold air to dry off and dive into a warm bed. That drop from hot to cold will alert your internal clock and help you curl up to fall asleep.
If you’re sleeping with the wrong mattress it can cause negative effects and your sleep problems might not be a sleep disorder. A mattress that is too hard, soft, or heat-trapping for your body can be a real problem. You may wake up in the night aching or sweating. Find a mattress that provides the support and comfort you need to sleep through the night. This may be memory foam, cooling, or pillow-top. You may need a firm center or just a new mattress that is the same depth all the way across.
Designate time at the end of your day to relax before bed. Choose a few predictable things you can do before bed. Have a cup of tea on the back porch. Take a hot bath. Listen to a favorite relaxing podcast. Not only will this help you unwind before bed, you’ll be giving your brain ‘bedtime cues’ to help you get sleepy on time so you have improved sleep.
A consistent morning routine can also help you wake up fully to face your day in the morning. A hot shower, a fruit smoothie, or some empowering music can program your brain to know when it’s time to perk up to face the day which can remove any daytime sleepiness you might get.
30 minutes of exercise can make it much easier to fall asleep. But only if you exercise a few hours before going to bed. If you are still “pumped” from your workout, you will have a hard time physically relaxing into a restful sleep. So build a regular workout routine, but keep it away from your actual sleep time.
Sleep environment can be essential to good sleep hygiene. You might need to cover LEDs and hang curtains in your bedroom to darken the space, as well as remove any natural light that comes through the window. White noise can be used to muffle the sounds of movement and activity outside your room. A fan can both improve airflow and produce a nice thrum of white noise to help you sleep.
Many people sleep with the wrong bedding for the season – or bedding that’s become threadbare and uncomfortable. Try new sheets and a different weight of blanket. Cotton percale is the most cooling type of sheets, while jersey or flannel sheets may be the coziest in winter. Microfiber sheets can be comfortable and cooling, but age quickly and should be replaced every few years.
If you wake up hot, try a lighter blanket like a throw or thin quilt. If you wake up cold, add a knit or switch to a fluffy duvet instead.
Be thoughtful about your use of caffeine, alcohol consumption and other stimulating ingredients. Coffee or soda too close to bedtime can make your brain chemically resistant to good sleep. This is great if you need to pull an all-nighter, but not if you’re trying to improve your sleep depth and quality instead. Switch to milk, herbal tea (not black or green, unless decaffeinated), or a little cold fruit juice before bed instead of coffee or soda. Good sleep hygiene is something anyone can achieve with just a few little changes to their daily routine. If you want to sleep more deeply and feel more rested in the morning, try a few of these tricks in your own routine. To find the right mattress, or learn more about memory foam, for your ideal sleep quality, No Bull Mattresses is here to help. Contact us today to consult on your new mattress needs.