Learn about Sleep Hygiene for Your Physical Well-Being
Do you really know if you are sleeping well? What are your nighttime habits?
The practice of sleep hygiene means setting up the optimal conditions for your head to hit the pillow and go straight out, rather than tossing, turning, and stressing through the night.
The first and most basic measure included in sleep hygiene is to make your bedroom sleep-friendly with no bright lights or obnoxious noises. You may want to use a white noise app with soothing sounds, especially if there are external disturbances you can’t control. If possible, make sleep the only activity you do in your bedroom. Working on a laptop on your bed during the day will not condition your mind to fall asleep there.
The next important thing is to establish a consistent nighttime routine to help you wind down. Ideally, you would go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. Be careful with consuming stimulants like caffeine, nicotine and sugar before bed, as well as heavy meals and alcohol. A much better nightcap would be a soothing cup of herbal tea (ginger, lemon balm and valerian are good choices.) Are you spending screen-time just before bed? Not only does the blue light emitted from screens mimic daylight and mess with your sleep cycles, but the mental stimulation will not allow you to wind down properly, especially if you see something exciting or upsetting. Put devices aside and read a book or listen to soft music instead. If you struggle with “turning your mind off,” do a few minutes of meditation before you get into bed. If you have frequent nightmares, try to make the last input to your mind before falling asleep something positive and uplifting, such as a few pages of an inspirational book, or a recording of spiritual chanting that resonates with you. You can also try aromatherapy with essential oils or blends designed to promote relaxation.
Be fairly disciplined about sleep for the sake of overall balance. That means trying to get to bed early on work/school nights, getting up at an appropriate hour, and not lingering too long in bed after you’ve awakened. It also means limiting daytime naps—30 minutes or less is refreshing, but anything over an hour promotes laziness, limits productivity and potentially causes you to not be able to fall asleep later. Sleep, like any other physical habit, is something you need to stay on track with, that way you can feel well, function at peak performance, enjoy stable moods and obtain ultimate well-being.
Measure measure measure. I use a Whoop strap and have noticed the higher my HRV the better I feel at night.