Good healthy sleep habits which also referred to as good sleep hygiene can make a big difference to improving our physical and mental health. Ensuring we get enough good quality sleep is a very important part of looking after our wellbeing.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the following tips are key to helping you improve the amount and quality of your sleep.
• Stick to a schedule: Try to keep the same bedtime and wake up time every day, even on weekends. This helps to regulate your body clock and can help you fall asleep more easily.
• Try to include a relaxing bedtime routine: This could be anything that you find to have a calming effect – like having a warm bath, reading a book or meditating.
• Eliminate any daytime naps if you have trouble sleeping at night.
• Make sure to include some form of exercise daily.
• Evaluate your bedroom or sleep space. Ensure it is not too hot or too cold but that there is adequate ventilation. It is also helpful to have very little or no light when asleep. Try to minimize noise and other distractions.
• Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable and right for you. A mattress should ideally be changed every 10 years.
• Keep your circadian rhythm in check by allowing natural light to help you wake up in the morning and avoiding bright lights before bedtime.
• Wind down: Avoid technology for a few hours before bedtime. The blue light that some devices and bulbs emit has been found to delay the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Try to allow yourself some time to gradually switch off at the end of a busy day by doing something that you find relaxing.
Do not hesitate to speak to a doctor or healthcare professional if you have trouble sleeping as there may be underlying reasons for this.