It’s not just your body that needs to rest and recharge while you sleep. Your mind needs a break from the stresses of the day, too. Getting adequate sleep allows your mind and body to recharge, and it’s essential for your physical and mental well-being. Have you ever tried to fall asleep, but your mind won’t turn off? Or, instead of feeling refreshed in the morning, you feel like you ran a marathon? If these scenarios sound familiar, then you may need to delve into your “sleep hygiene.”
Fortunately, with just a few tweaks to your nightly routine and lifestyle, you could be on your way to developing healthier habits that can support a better night’s sleep.
How to develop healthier sleep habits
Sleep hygiene encompasses healthy habits that can improve your ability to not only fall asleep, but help you remain asleep throughout the night, so you can wake up feeling refreshed and energized. Better sleep hygiene is equally about adding healthy habits to your bedtime routine and lifestyle, as well as breaking unhealthy habits that can lead to poor quality sleep.
Here are some healthy sleep habits to add into your lifestyle:
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time.
- Maintain a regular and relaxing bedtime routine. This may include reading, listening to relaxing music or an audio book, drinking a cup of herbal tea, using lavender and other calming scents, or taking a warm bath or shower.
- Step away from screens at least one hour before bedtime.
- Meditate or practice deep breathing to decompress from the stresses of the day. Clearing your mind before you sleep can help you achieve a better night’s rest.
- Eat a healthy plant-rich diet that provides your body with the nutrients it needs to fall and stay asleep.
- Maintain a daily exercise routine but avoid doing highly vigorous activities at least two hours before bedtime.
- Keep daytime naps to less than 30 minutes. If you sleep during the day, you may find it more difficult to fall asleep when it really matters.
And here are unhealthy habits that may be causing you to have poor sleep:
- Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine, or smoking can greatly decrease your chances of getting a restful sleep.
- Binge-watching television or using your mobile phone or computer late into the night messes with your circadian rhythm and can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
- Eating large servings of spicy or rich meals that can cause indigestion or heartburn can disrupt your sleep.
- Consuming sugary drinks and snacks can cause your blood glucose levels to spike, making it difficult to fall or stay asleep.
- Engaging in upsetting or emotional discussions as you’re about to fall asleep may not be the best way to get a good amount of shut-eye. Try to keep these conversations to during the daytime, if possible.
Tips for creating a restful sleep environment
When it comes to preparing for a restful night’s sleep, keep these three words in mind: “dark,” “cool,” and “quiet.” Think of your bedroom as a sleep sanctuary where your body and mind can unwind. Here are some ideas to set your bedroom up for your best night’s sleep:
- Keep the light out by using black-out curtains or shades or use a sleep mask.
- Lower the temperature below 70 degrees. A cooler room can help you get better quality sleep.
- Creating a quiet atmosphere can aid in a peaceful night’s sleep. Try using a sound machine, fan or meditative music to create white noise to block outside noise.
Does diet impact sleep?
Did you know what you eat throughout the day can impact how well you sleep at night? Making a few key changes to your eating habits may be just what you need to prepare your body for a better night’s sleep. If you are looking to improve your sleep habits, try these natural and tasty nutrition tips:
- Incorporate good quality protein-rich foods like fish, poultry, lean meats, beans and eggs into your diet.
- Add nutrient and antioxidant-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with healthy fats from avocado, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds to your meals.
- If possible, make dinner your lightest meal of the day, and shut the kitchen three-to-four hours before bedtime.
The New Mayo Clinic Diet’s meal plans cover all these healthy eating habits and fit into any lifestyle. Check out our sample meal plans.
Whoever said old habits are hard to break clearly hasn’t tried the New Mayo Clinic Diet’s Habit Optimizer tool! This tool is designed to help you build healthy new habits and break unhealthy old habits so you can improve your health, weight and your sleep. Say goodbye to poor quality sleep and hello to a healthier lifestyle and weight loss.
Learn more about the Habit Optimizer tool, along with other benefits that come with the New Mayo Clinic Diet.