No one likes waking up tired, moving through the day sluggish, or taking forever to fall asleep. If this sounds familiar, you may want to rethink some of your bedtime habits. Here’s how to get into a healthier sleep routine.
Consider these five changes for healthier sleep
Many of us don’t have healthy bedtime routines or good sleep habits in place to ensure that we get the rest we need. Luckily, there are simple changes that can help us doze off easily, sleep soundly, and wake up rested. Here are some good rules of thumb.
1. Wind down
In the same way that little ones benefit from having an established bedtime routine, having a routine of your own can help tell your mind and body, “Hey, it’s time for sleep!” Whether your routine is sipping a warm cup of tea while reading a book, taking a hot bath or shower, or playing your favorite song while brushing your teeth, these little rituals can help guide you toward dreamland.
2. Keep wake and sleep times regular
Sometimes life can get in the way of this, but if you can make a habit of generally waking up and going to bed at the same time every day, your body may be able to get back into a healthier sleep rhythm. And yes, this includes keeping sleep hours regular on weekends and avoiding late naps that might throw off your bedtime.
3. Shut off screens
Who isn’t guilty of staring at a screen before bed? (You’re reading this on a screen right now!) But it’s no secret that screen time before bedtime is a big no-no. The type of short-wavelength blue light that screens emit, and the way these devices keep you mentally engaged, can keep your brain active when you should be winding down.
Even if it’s a hard habit to break, try switching your phone into a setting that shuts off blue light in the evening, turning it off before climbing into bed, or maybe even keeping it out of the bedroom entirely. Each of these choices can help to promote better and healthier sleep.
4. Limit caffeine, alcohol, and big meals before bed
Often tempting, for sure, but all of these things can keep you awake when you should be snoozing.
5. Establish bedroom boundaries
Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. If you establish that you won’t, for example, work on your laptop or watch TV in bed, it will help your body know that when you hit the sheets, it’s time for either sleep or sex, but not to toss or turn or check your Twitter feed.
Life may not always allow you to do all of these things all of the time, but if you can incorporate even some of these habits into your evenings, you’ll get higher quality sleep and wake up feeling rested. Who knows, maybe you’ll even become a morning person!
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Insomnia.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, October 15 2016. Retrieved June 11 2018. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355167.
- “Blue light has a dark side.” Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard University, December 30 2017. Retrieved June 11 2018. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side.
- “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?” National Sleep Foundation. National Sleep Foundation. Retrieved February 11 2019. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/excessive-sleepiness/support/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need
- “Twelve Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep.” Healthy Sleep. Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, December 18 2007. Retrieved February 11 2019. http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips.