Sleep can make or break our overall mood, physical and mental health. If you are like many people who have been suffering from insomnia during the pandemic, and craving a night of peaceful sleep, we have put together a practical list of things that can help boost your sleep hygiene and give you the sleep that both you and your body needs.
Get comfortable before bed
What we do before we go to sleep impacts whether we get the recommended 6-8 hours of sleep. How you spend your time winding down will impact how you sleep. Make sure that your room is at a comfortable temperature and that there are no distractions in the form of bright lights from outside or a screen. The darker it is the better. It should take at least 15 minutes to fall asleep. If you find yourself falling asleep within 5 minutes, it could be a sign of sleep deprivation.
Create a peaceful environment
The best time to wind down is 30 minutes before you are planning to sleep. Remove anything that could distract you from winding down. You can place peaceful soundscapes that are available online to help keep you calm but try to avoid touching your phone during this time. Soft light in the form of scented candles, held in safe containers to prevent fires, can be a great way to create a relaxing atmosphere. Should you find yourself being distracted by your thoughts, pick up a book that will keep you calm.
Avoid large meals
Large meals, especially spicy foods, can contribute to poor sleep patterns. It is recommended that we have lighter meals at night and keep the heavy meals during the day to allow our systems to digest properly.
Be mindful of day naps
Taking a power nap of 5-10 minutes can give your body a breather and regain energy but be careful of how long you take a nap for. Overdoing naps during the day can throw off sleep at night, leading to insomnia. Always keep these short. Staying hydrated can also be useful when it comes to staying active throughout your day.
A 2013 study revealed that doing any form of exercise regularly can help improve sleep patterns. It doesn't have to be an intense form of workout, but something that keeps your body moving will do. Workouts can help you reduce stress, aid in keeping you alert, and even assist in the winding down process at night.