Places Pointer - Sleep Hygiene

The importance of sleep hygiene and how to improve it!

As the night’s draw in and our days become shorter, there is undoubtedly something rather cosy about the transition to winter – even for the sun worshippers out there!

With the seasonal shift comes many changes in our lives and routines, but something that isn’t discussed enough is the change it can bring to our sleeping patterns.

Poor sleep hygiene (sleep deprivation) manifests physically and mentally – effecting our energy, motivation, memory, mood and more. Learning to practice a good sleep routine provides a strong foundation for our daily interests and promotes habit forming to serve our long-term goals.

So how do we make sure our sleep hygiene is tip top?

  • Ensure that your daily actions prepare you for the best quality sleep. Try to expose yourself to sunlight for at least 15 minutes a day to align your body clock* – this is best done as early in the morning as you can. Aim to exert yourself with exercise every day, from low impact walks to high intensity weight training.
  • Have a set bedtime that you stick to every day. This can easily be determined based on the time you need to wake up to ensure you are giving yourself enough time to sleep. Have a late night at the weekend? Try your best to move your wake-up time accordingly and jump back to your usual routine as soon as you can.
  • Set up your environment. Having a warm shower before bed and a cool room to sleep in works wonders if you have trouble nodding off. Invest in a sleep mask and earplugs if you find yourself easily disturbed!
  • Make sure to wind down. Finish food, drink, and limit exposure to bright or blue light a few hours before bedtime to allow our bodies to naturally feel sleepy.

Top tip: leave your devices away from reach and get used to reading a good book or writing down your thoughts before bed. Read our Pointer on the benefits of journaling here.

*Our body clocks can be naturally reset through want is known as a circadian rhythm – using light and dark to set up our internal 24-hour cycle.

 

 

 

 

Sources: Sleep problems - Every Mind Matters - NHS (www.nhs.uk) | Effects of light on human circadian rhythms, sleep and mood - PMC (nih.gov)