Insomnia is no joke; not getting enough sleep can have serious implications for your health. Doctors have associated sleep deprivation with a higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiac problems. If you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, consider some of these tips for improving your sleep hygiene for better health.
If you’re suffering from chronic insomnia, seek medical help. Something serious could be going on that needs a medical professional’s attention.
What Is Sleep Hygiene?
“Sleep hygiene” refers to your sleep environment and daily habits that affect whether you get a good night’s sleep.
If you don’t sleep for seven to nine hours every night, you may have slipped into habits that are working against you. Are you doing things these tips for improving your sleep hygiene for better health say you shouldn’t?
Go to Bed at the Same Time Each Night
Consistency pays off when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep. Training your mind and body to be ready for sleep at the same time each night will help you get to sleep faster. Likewise, setting a consistent time for waking that accommodates a solid eight hours of sleep (median recommended for adults) can get you into a good rhythm of sleeping and waking.
Stop Looking at Screens in Bed
Are you a late-night TV addict? Are you in the habit of checking every social media account on your phone at bedtime? Screens emit blue light that can lower your body’s melatonin levels.
Don’t watch TV, use a laptop, or look at your phone in bed. That causes you to associate your bed with wakefulness. Turn off or put away electronics and give yourself an hour to wind down with something more calming, like listening to music or reading.
Improve Your Bedroom Environment
Make sure you have a good mattress, and your drapes or blinds make it dark enough to encourage sleep. Turn the heat down a bit at night. A cooler room is more conducive to sleep. Choose a comfortable armchair for your bedroom to give you a place to relax before bedtime. Your bed should be strictly for sleep and snuggling with your partner.
Limit Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake. And while an adult beverage may be relaxing at the time you consume it, the effect wears off, and you may find yourself waking up again in the middle of the night.
Do your workouts in the morning or early afternoon. Exercising in the evening can energize you and raise your body temperature, requiring additional time to wind down when you could be sleeping.
Get a Physical Exam
Persistent insomnia or interrupted sleep could be a sign of a medical condition, like obstructive sleep apnea, that may be serious. Talk to your doctor about your difficulty falling asleep and sleeping through the night.