Do you have good sleep habits? Are you giving yourself the best shot at a solid night's sleep? Whether you have severe insomnia or occasional restless nights, your daily routines actually can make a difference in your sleep. Even if these techniques don't solve your sleep issues, they certainly can help you get closer to doing so. So, since we're awake anyway, let's review the basics of a good sleep hygiene.
1. Prepare for sleep in the daytime. Expose yourself to bright natural light in the morning to help regulate your internal rhythms.
2. Exercise... but not too close to bedtime. Be sure to be finishing your workout a few hours before you want to go to sleep.
3. Stick to a routine so that you go to bed and get up at approximately the same time each day.
4. Begin calming rituals about 1 hour before bedtime. These should be things that signal to your body that it's time to wind down and relax. Gentle activities may include reading a book, taking a bath, stretching, or listening to soothing music.
5. Write down things that are worrying you and tell yourself you are putting them away until morning.
6. Say no to screens. Avoid smartphones, tablets, and computers in the final hour of your evening. The “blue” light in electronic devices can lead to alertness and disrupt the natural winding-down cycle.
7. Try scents. Some evidence suggests that certain smells promote sleep. These include lavender, vanilla, jasmine, and valerian. Lotions, oils and soaps are a great way to incorporate these smells into your bedtime routine.
8. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and spicy, fatty, fried, spicy, rich, or heavy foods foods before bed.
9. Make sure your bedroom signals sleep. Try to clear clutter and remove items that distract or stress you.
10. Turn down the temperature. Experts suggest a sleep environment that’s around 65ºF. Use fans, open windows, remove blankets, etc. to make your sleeping room chill.
These are the basics. For severe insomnia or insomnia co-occurring with mental health diagnoses such as depression, anxiety and PTSD additional care will almost certainly be recommended.
Evidence-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for insomnia (CBT-i) is said to be the "gold-standard" in treatment for such severe sleep issues but can sometimes be difficult to access outside of major cities or academic centers. New technology, fortunately, is starting to bridge the gap and enable CBT-i to be brought nearly anywhere that smartphones, tablets, and laptops can go. Watch Circady.com for more information about CBT-i that will utilize video chat technology along with an app and mobile and wearable platforms for interactive, expert, customized sleep care wherever you are.
Thanks for reading! Please add your comments and sleep hygiene tips below. What helps you create a good sleep environment?