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daily sleep hygiene: a few useful tips | sleepera.com

  • Have a Sleep Routine. Set a regular bedtime. Wake up at the same time every day. Find activities that help you wind down before bed, and stick to the same sleep-wake schedule, even on weekends

  • Get Some Exposure to Blue Light in the Morning and During the Day. When you get up in the morning, head outside. Go for a walk at lunch for a bit more exposure. Increasing natural light exposure during the day promotes healthy melatonin balance, which can help us get to sleep later in the day. Remove your sunglasses, Spend more time outside during daylight, Let as much light into your home/workspace as possible

  • See faces in the morning light and during the day., We’re social beings, so we need to see a lot of faces. It helps straighten our circadian rhythm that eventually dictates our sleep.

  • Maintain a normal weight. Studies find that obesity can make sleep problems like sleep apnea worse. It can also affect important sleep-related hormone levels in the body, increasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol while decreasing levels of sleep-inducing melatonin.

  • Nap the right way. Just 10 to 20 minutes of napping during the day can help us feel rested. But try to avoid napping after 3:00 or 4:00pm, as this can make it harder to fall asleep at bedtime

  • Regular exercise to be critical to people’s ability to get a good night’s sleep. It doesn’t need to be an intense workout — 20-minute walk outside in the afternoon is just fine. Just don’t exercise within three or four hours of bedtime because it could increase your metabolism and mental alertness.

  • Don’t drink alcohol right before bed. Although many people think a glass of wine before bed can help with insomnia, the opposite is actually true. While alcohol might help you fall asleep, it’s often the culprit behind middle-of-the-night awakenings. It also interferes with your sleep cycle, so even if you do sleep through the night, you’ll wake up tired.

  • Limit caffeine. It’s tempting to reach for coffee when we’re tired after a poor night’s sleep, but drinking caffeine can make it harder for us to fall asleep at night, creating a vicious cycle. Try limiting caffeine intake to earlier in the day (until 2pm) so it’s out of your system by bedtime.

  • Avoid drinking too many liquids in the evening. Drinking lots of water, juice, tea, or other fluids may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night. Caffeinated drinks, which act as diuretics, only make things worse.

  • Eat for sleep. Don't go to bed hungry. Have a light non-spicy snack. Eat foods high in magnesium, like halibut, almonds, cashews, and spinach, and foods high in vitamin B complex, like leafy green vegetables, nuts, and legumes. Don’t have heavy/late dinners.

  • Leave work at work! Don't go directly from a highly stressful or active situation straight to bed. Allow your mind to wind down and switch off. Set yourself a wind down routine - whether that's simply reading a book, listening to music or having a relaxing bath.

  • Don’t use your brain before bed. Don’t work, watch stimulating TV shows, read complex material, or think too hard — about anything — before bedtime; working out the brain keeps the body awake.

  • Wind down. Try some relaxation exercises within an hour of bedtime to calm your mind. Deep diaphragmatic breathing and body-scan exercises are excellent ways to relax your body and mind. Wind down with a favorite hobby, Make simple preparations for the next day. 1 hour before: First 20 minutes: Prep for tomorrow (pack your bag, set out your clothes). Next 20: Take care of personal hygiene (brush your teeth, moisturize your face). Last 20: Relax in bed, reading with a small, low-wattage book light or practicing deep breathing

  • Breathe deeply. This technique helps reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, releases endorphins, and relaxes your body, priming you for sleep. Inhale for 5 seconds, pause for 3, then exhale to a count of 5. Start with 8 repetitions; gradually increase to 15.

  • Get Cooler. Body temperature decreases during sleep, so ensure that your bedroom is cool enough (16° to 19°C is optimal) to allow this to happen. Open a window before bedtime, for a five-minute blast of fresh air.  

  • Dim the lights two hours before bed. Exposure to electrical lights between dusk and bedtime might negatively affect our chances at quality sleep. Assuming you don’t want to sit in the dark for hours, find the happy medium by dimming the lights as bedtime draws near.

  • Sleep in a Dark Room. Total darkness is best. That means turning off the blinking DVR, using a towel to block the light streaming in under the door, flipping your alarm clock around. Use heavy curtains, blackout shades, or an eye mask to any  light. Use a flashlight to go to the bathroom at night.

  • Turn off the screens. The artificial (or “blue”) light emitted by screens can disrupt our bodies’ preparations for sleep by stimulating daytime hormones. Reduce exposure by turning off TVs, phones, and computers at least one hour before bedtime.

  • Deal with noise. If you live near a busy street or have problems dealing with any type of noise consider a white noise generator. No need to spend a lot of money on a electronic system, an old fan puts out great white noise. White noise masks disruptive noises

  • Make sure your bed is comfortable. You should have enough room to stretch and turn comfortably. If you often wake up with a sore back or an aching neck, you may need to invest in a new mattress or a try a different pillow. Experiment with different levels of mattress firmness and pillows that provide more or less support.

  • Put Your Neck in Neutral. If you wake tired with a stiff neck, blame your pillow. Pillows that are too fat or too flat cause problems. Your pillow should be just the right size to support your neck in a neutral position.

  • Stay put if you wake up. The textbook advice is that if you can't fall back asleep in fifteen minutes, get out of bed. But if you're not fretting or anxious, then stay there, in the dark, and do some deep breathing or visualization. But if lying in bed pushes your stress buttons, get up and do something quiet and relaxing (in dim light), such as gentle yoga or massaging your feet until you feel sleepy again.