Sweet Slumber

Developing healthy sleep-hygiene habits will help you have a good night’s rest.

Many of us will make sure we make it to all of our workouts and eat the best diet, yet when it comes to getting the rest our body needs, that’s where we choose to scrimp on. After all, there’s always more things to cross off the to-do list, or another episode of back Mirror to watch on Netflix. But good sleep hygiene—that is, the habits and rituals you follow around your sleep time—are practices that contribute to how well you snooze. Restful sleep is essential for you to recuperate so that your body and brain can perform for you in your waking hours. Here are some of the top dos and don’ts to getting the sleep you need.

DO keep a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake at the same time regularly, even on weekends, so that your body falls into a rhythm of a regular sleep-wake cycle.

DON’T use your bed for activities other than sleeping (and, well, having sex). Reading, watching TV, and working on your laptop should be kept to other parts of your home so that your body and brain associates the bed with it being time to sleep.

DO make your bedroom a quiet space. Use earplugs, pillows, and curtains to help drown out noise if necessary. If absolute silence makes you anxious, try using a white-noise app or playing nature sounds.

DON’T take long naps. A power nap of30 minutes has been shown to be beneficial, however, anything longer than that may have you enter deep sleep. If that happens, you’ll wake up feeling even more sluggish than if you hadn’t napped, plus it’ll make falling asleep that night difficult.

DO cut out your screen time in a couple of hours leading up to bedtime. The blue light from screens can make your brain think it’s daytime, making it more difficult for you to fall asleep. Ideally, keep your smartphone or tablet in another room, so that you are not distracted by it.

DON’T eat too much close to bedtime. A small snack before bedtime is fine, and although a large meal may often make you feel sleepy, it’ll actually just have you waking up in the middle of the night.

DO go to the bathroom before hitting the sack. It’ll help reduce the chances of you having to get up in the middle of the night to relieve yourself.

DON’T rely on wine or any type of alcohol to lull you to sleep. Yes, that glass of red wine may make you feel like dozing initially, but later in the night, it’ll just disrupt your sleep (which is when you should be getting deep and REM sleep).

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