Try this Tuesday: Sleep Hygiene

For those of you regularly following Try This Tuesday, you may recall a promise of an upcoming post about sleep, so here it is!

Sleep is often something we don’t think too much about; either we are sleeping well, and we ignore it, or we are sleeping poorly, and feel powerless to improve it. This post discusses some of the habits that can be formed to improve your sleep quality, which is referred to as sleep hygiene.

The first step I always encourage folks to do when improving their sleep hygiene is to think about their ideal sleep environment, including factors such as noise, ambient light, temperature in the room, bed softness/firmness, blankets, etc. Now, compare this ideal sleep environment to your current sleeping setup and try to make any adjustments you can to make your current setup more like your ideal setup. Often something as simple as a $20 set of blackout curtains or turning the thermostat down a few degrees can make a huge difference. Sometimes it might mean a difficult conversation with a roommate or your significant other about keeping the noise down at night or in the early morning. Regardless of how you do it, try to make your bed and bedroom ideal for you.

After we’ve turned the bedroom to a sleeping paradise, it can be helpful to look at your sleep routine. Do you go to sleep and go get up at the same time every night/morning? Or do your bedtime and wakeup times vary greatly? I always say we humans are creatures of habit, and as such we sleep best when we have a regular time that we fall asleep and wake up. Also, consider building a pre-bedtime routine with relaxing activities such as reading, light stretching, or meditation. This will help your body calm down and signal that it is time to fall asleep.

Sleep hygiene goes much further than your space and routine, so below is a longer list of good sleep hygiene habits. I hope this helps you all get a few more Z’s.