Sleep Hygiene: The Perfect Bedtime Routine
With 62% of adults around the world say they don't sleep as well as they'd like, we thought we’d share some simple but effective sleep tips to help us all get that good night’s sleep that we all deserve.
One of the best ways to improve sleep is to create good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene refers to the routine you set before bed which helps get you in the mood for a restful night. Below are our top tips on how to create a great routine for sleep:
1. A clean bed is a comfortable bed
Keeping your bed and bedroom clean, tidy and a welcoming environment is an important factor in the quality of sleep. Make sure your sheets are cleaned regularly and even consider going to bed clean (washing before bedtime) to help keep yourself fresh and comfortable each night. As well as bed cleanliness, sleep hygiene refers to a consistent and relaxing routine that helps in all aspects of sleep.
2. Don’t exercise too late in the day
Whilst regular exercise is key to good sleep, often people find that exercising late in the day can have the opposite effect. Researchers that published a study in Oct. 29, 2018, in Sports Medicine have found that individuals who did high-intensity exercise — such as interval training — less than one hour before bedtime took longer to fall asleep and had poorer sleep quality.
3. Sleep set up
The way our sleep space is organised is key to ensuring an uninterrupted night’s sleep. Make sure your bedroom is dark, with no natural daylight or artificial light creeping in. Investing in blackout curtains or blinds can help with this. Equally, ensure your space is as quiet as possible during sleeping hours – this may mean you have to test out some earplugs if there’s no easy way of cutting out noise when you go to bed.
4. Reduce blue light exposure in the evening
Many of the screens and technology that we use on a regular basis (phones, laptops, tv’s etc) emit a blue light that can interfere with our natural sleep cycles. Decreasing exposure to light in the evening, and blue light, in particular, is an important way to help your body naturally prepare for sleep.
5. Get a good bedtime routine
We are creatures of habit and setting up a consistent and comforting bedtime routine can help psychologically get us in the mood for sleep. You may even be able to tie in some self-love rituals, from spending time doing your skincare regime, to trying out some bedtime stretching or lighting a candle and reading, try out some different activities to create your perfect pre-bed routine.
6. Hot shower/baths before bed
A key part of our bodies natural sleep triggers is the cooling of our bodies in the run up to bedtime. Our core body temperature naturally cools, while skin temperatures of the hands and feet increase. Research implies that immersing the body in warm water aids this natural temperature regulation process, improving sleep as a result. So taking a hot shower or nice, long, relaxing bath can help stimulate this.
7. Don’t eat too late
Whilst the idea of a midnight snack is lovely, it can cause a spike in your blood sugars and cause you to struggle to sleep. Try to leave at least 1 hours break from snacking before you plan to go to bed. Often our bodies can confuse being tired for feeling hungry, so perhaps that late night craving that’s hitting you is actually your body trying to tell you to rest?
8. Avoid sugary food later in the day
Eating sugar late in the day or at nigh time causes your blood sugar level to rise and your pancreas to release insulin, which gives your body fuel to run on. Sugar effectively overstimulates you and can make it difficult to sleep.
9. Don’t drink too much liquid before bed
All of us have woken in the middle of the night desperate to go to the bathroom, and then found it tricky to fall back asleep. So to avoid these middle of the night bladder moments, try to avoid drinking much liquid before you go to sleep.
10. Invest in good quality and comfortable bedding
A comfortable bed is incredibly important to making sure you sleep well all night. So ensure you have a good quality mattress, or if you can’t change the mattress then perhaps look for a comfortable mattress topper (there are some very reasonably priced ones). Making sure your pillow properly supports your neck and head can help prevent headaches and neck/back pain which can interrupt sleep. Finally, scratchy sheets can be the difference between a good and a terrible nights sleep, so make sure you’ve got something that is comfortable for you and lets your skin breathe. Make your bed the most comfortable, perfect nest you possibly can.
11. Consistent times
One of the most powerful ways to help our sleep is to stick to regular routines. This can be difficult depending on life circumstances and work shifts, but wherever possible try your best to stick to the same wake up and bedtime each day. This will help your circadian rhythm and your body will start to naturally fit into the cycle.
Sleep is a core part of health and wellbeing so try out these tips and let us know what works for you!