4 Tips for Better Sleep

In celebration of World Sleep Day, let’s develop our understanding of sleep, why it’s essential for health, and how we can do better. 
We’ve been sleeping all our lives but pay very little attention to the quality we get. Sleep quality tells you how well you sleep. The first step to improving sleep quality is identifying what good vs bad looks like.
Characteristics of good quality sleep:
  • You fall asleep within 30 minutes of getting into bed
  • Your sleep is generally uninterrupted, waking up no more than once per night
  • If you do wake up, you fall asleep in under 20 minutes
  • You’re able to sleep the recommended hours for your age group
    • 14-17 years old 8-10 hours
    • 18-25 years old 7-9 hours
    • 26-64 years old 7-9 hours
    • 65+ years old 7-8 hours
  • Mornings feel rested, restored, and energized
While caffeine may help you get through the day, the importance of sleep goes beyond feeling active. Good quality sleep is linked to overall well-being. Bad quality sleep can break out your skin, affect your concentration, make you unusually hungry and crave junk food, increase irritability and stress, and raise the risk for a range of diseases.
Forming healthy habits sets you up for a better quality life. Sleep Hygiene is building an environment and set of routines that promote better sleep.
Good sleep hygiene compromises of 2 main areas:
      1. Your bedroom environment and how inviting it is to relax and doze off
      2. Your daily routines that make sleep automatic and uniterrupted
Tips to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Let’s look at simple steps you can try to get started on your sleep hygiene journey.
1. Stick to a schedule
Habits make up most of life and consistency reinforces your body's sleep-wake cycle which acts as an internal clock.
  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every day
  • Accommodate changes when starting off
  • Take things one step at a time
  • Get the recommended hours of sleep for your age
  • Sleep in during weekends
  • Take long naps
  • Go to bed when you’re not sleepy and force yourself to sleep
  • Use loud alarms
  • Snooze
2. Start a nighttime self-care routine
Taking care of yourself and letting your body know “Okay! Time for bed.” will help you stay on track when life becomes unpredictable.

Part of relaxing yourself is a nice, warm bath or shower. Doing this helps you fall asleep faster and get more deep sleep. You can try picking out a shower gel or body lotion that has a soothing scent. Make sure to wear lightweight, loose clothes at night that will keep you comfortable. Think of your room’s temperature when choosing.
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Put together a skincare routine that not only suits your skin but also makes you feel good. Consider using a lip balm you like or a thick moisturizer as an overnight mask.
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Spend at least 30 minutes winding down. Relaxation techniques improve sleep quality. Examples include listening to relaxing music or ASMR, reading a book, meditating, and deep breathing. You can try brain-dumping, which is a journaling method, where you empty your mind onto a notebook or journal and be at ease before bed.
3. Cultivate healthy habits during the day
Better sleep starts when you wake up and fostering pro-sleep habits during the day paves the way for improved sleep at night.

Some simple actions you can start today:
  • Spend time outside
  • Get enough sun
  • Regular physical activity (not too close to bedtime)
  • Avoid eating meals or drinking water too late
  • Cut down on nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol
  • Reserve the bed for sleep and sex
4. Create a restful environment 
Where you sleep plays an equally important role in how well you sleep, the more sleep-inducing your bedroom setup is the better your sleep.
5. Ways to achieve a restful environment
Taking conscious steps toward maximizing comfort and minimizing distractions will give you the desired results.
  • Choose a mattress and pillow that support your spine properly
  • Look for bedding that is soft to your touch
  • Limit screen usage and avoid bright light
  • Lower your room lights
  • Turn off your notifications 
  • Disconnect your devices
  • Keep noise to a minimum
  • Light up a scented candle or use a pillow mist
Getting into the right frame of mind for sleep is an investment and one that is often overlooked. But, let’s make it a point to prioritize the things that affect our lifestyle. Start small, start somewhere. 
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