Sleep hygiene is a set of habits that you implement each day to get great sleep at night and feel alert and refreshed during the day. Good sleep hygiene is important because of how crucial getting good sleep is for your mental and physical health, as well as your overall quality of life. A proper amount of sleep has been known to lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s. It also keeps your energy level up, improves your mood, and fights off anxiety and depression.
Your circadian rhythm is your internal biological clock. It tells your body when it’s time to go to sleep and wake up each day. When your rhythm is out of sync, you can have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Sleep chronotype is closely related to circadian rhythm. There are four types of chronotypes: bear, wolf, lion, or dolphin.
Healthy Sleep Hygiene Habits
Having a hard time falling asleep, experiencing frequent sleep disturbances, and suffering daytime sleepiness are the most telling signs of poor sleep hygiene. Fortunately there are many ways to help improve your sleep.
- try to go to bed around the same time each night
- naps need to be under 30 minutes or over 2 hours
- try to wake up at the same time, whether it’s a weekday or weekend
- following the same steps each night can reinforce in your mind that it’s bedtime.
- unplug from electronics 30-60 minutes before bed
- regular exercise can make it easier to sleep at night
- alcohol may make it easier to fall asleep, but can cause wakefulness when the sugars kick in later
- cut down on caffeine after noon
- when it’s time for bed, turn down the temperature to between 60 to 67 degrees
- work with your chronotype instead of against it
- to build a link in your mind between sleep and being in bed, it’s best to only use your bed for sleep with sex being the one exception
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