If you’re fed up with waking every few hours or even struggling to get off to sleep in the first place, this one’s for you. We’ve collated a number of easy hacks to lift your sleep hygiene game – say goodbye to the fatigue, low energy and sluggishness that come with poor sleep!
Make a schedule
If you’re used to working or watching TV right up until you head to bed, it’s time to shake things up. It’s essential to have a consistent structure to your sleeping patterns in order to help get the message to your brain that it’s time to rest, along with reducing your stress and anxiety – these are some of the biggest culprits for keeping people awake. Plus, a consistent schedule will also help reset your sleep cycle, which supports healthy sleep patterns into the future. Here’s what you’ll need for your schedule:
- Pick a time to start you sleep schedule every night – and stick to it!
- Ensure this time gives you a minimum of 7 hours sleep
- Ensure you have a quiet, work-free zone where you sleep
Wind down first
You’ll also want to pick a wind-down activity to set the tone for sleeping, rather than engaging in stimulating activities like scrolling social media or watching videos. Be sure to leave around 30 minutes to undertake this pre-sleep ritual. Here are some of our favourite picks:
- Listen to a meditation audio or some calming music
- Read a book
- Try some deep breathing activities
- Try stretching or some light yoga poses
Just be sure to steer clear of blue light – this means no phones or computers for at least a couple of hours before bed. Blue light wreaks havoc on your circadian rhythm, setting us up for poor sleep quality and an exhausting day ahead. This is because it decreases your body’s melatonin, a hormone which plays a major role in regulating your sleep cycles. Without adequate levels of this stuff, you’ll find it hard to fall asleep and hard to wake up. Sound familiar? If you’ve got a pre-sleep phone-scrolling habit, this could be the culprit for your sleep woes.
Get exercise, preferably outside – and early!
Regular exercise has been found to improve the sleep cycle, with outdoor exercise being even more beneficial. This is because the natural light helps regulate your hormone levels – but research has found that early light may be most helpful to getting your sleep hygiene back on track. This is down to the production of cortisol – the stress hormone – in the morning, and as the sunlight increases serotonin, which helps boost mood, it’s a good time to keep sleep-disturbing cortisol in balance. But if you’re stuck inside during the sunny hours, an indoor workout will still offer benefits to your sleep schedule!
Give your bedroom a makeover
It’s important that the place you sleep is a calming environment – this means keeping your work life and sleep life separate. Without an adequate divider between the two, your sleep cycle can suffer. If you can, it helps to have your work space outside the bedroom, along with leaving any work-related devices outside. It’s also worth noting that a quiet, dark room is important for healthy sleep, while a cool temperature will also help prepare your body to nod off. In fact, research shows between 15.5 degrees (Celsius) and just under 20 degrees is the optimal temperature for sleeping – if you’re here in Australia, you’re likely struggling to avoid the humidity, and it’s one of the big reasons many of us have a hard time getting to sleep and staying asleep. It can be hard to keep the heat down without blowing cash on expensive air conditioners, but a bowl of ice water and a small fan is an easy trick to getting a bit of relief. If loud neighbours – or family members! – are keeping you awake, it might be worth investing in a pair of quality ear plugs to get some shuteye.
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