It’s not surprising that many of us are struggling with our sleep hygiene following the year that was 2020. There is a lot on our minds and so many societal shifts that continue to keep us distracted in the evening. The good news is that you have control over your sleep hygiene and there is a lot you can be doing to improve how you sleep. Here are 10 habits to adopt in 2021 for better sleep and restoration.
Optimal Bedroom Furniture
You wouldn’t think this has such a heavy influence on your sleep, but without a quality bedside table next to your bed you will be getting up and down from your bed to get or stow your belongings too often. It also allows your lamp, alarm, novel and oils to be closer and more effective.
Explore Essential Oils
There is a huge hype surrounding essential oils for sleep and that’s because they have been proven to assist with sleep and other special needs. Lavender, juniper, frankincense and many other smells actually elicit a relaxation response that makes you more susceptible to sleep. You can use these oils through an oil burner or a diffuser, or you may even like to use them as a spray on your pillow and bedding.
Read Before Bed
Reading before bed is a fantastic sleep hygiene habit, and exactly what your mind and eyes need after a day of staring at a device. Try and read something that isn’t too controversial or likely to get your blood pumping before bed, as you want this read to set the scene for more wind-down.
The Right Lighting
Bright or fluorescent lighting can be quite offensive to your eyes and body and you want to be doing the best you can to remove or mute that lighting. Lamps can be a great way to control your lighting as they come with shades and you can select the bulb, but you may even choose to use a salt lamp or night light after a certain hour to get you in the mood for sleep.
Even if you are doing something relaxing on your phone, the Blue light is still working against you. We now know quite a lot about Blue light and how it can send the wrong signals to our eyes and brain, which is why optical brands have released glasses that actually block Blue light altogether. You can use these glasses or choose to have a mobile phone curfew so you are not exposing yourself to this lighting.
Do Not Disturb
Whether you need to turn this setting on your phone or make a mental note in your mind and to your friends or family – this is essential. Being uncontactable is a truly freeing feeling and one that we should be applying more regularly than just the evening. If you can’t trust yourself to stay off your newsfeed, place your phone in a drawer or in another room to eliminate the temptation.
Invest In Better Bedding
You don’t have to be sleeping in Ralph Lauren to get a good nights sleep, but you should be investing in quality bedding that is made from the right materials that will provide you with comfort. Cotton and a high thread count is a great place to start, as they are breathable but also provide you with the foundation you need for a quality and restful sleep.
Curtains And Blinds
Now that we have covered artificial lighting, you want to be looking at your natural light. Curtains and blinds are great at filtering and controlling the amount of light that streams into your room, especially if this is contributing to a poor night’s sleep with street lights, car lights and sunrise. Blockout curtains are a very effective line of defence, but there are other options if you don’t want something so severe.
Having a routine is a great way to establish better sleep hygiene, as you are putting yourself to bed at the same time each night and slowly fostering a new routine. Sometimes life can get a little unpredictable so give yourself a range so that you can still get to bed within the window and finish up what you need to at night. Remember, if you get into bed at that time and are not feeling sleepy, read your book to start that process.
We have specifically left this habit last as it is a hard one for everyone to do. Not all of us have seen the benefits to meditation, and while it is fantastic to get some quiet… there are just so many thoughts running through our heads to fully unwind. Commit to 10 minutes of quiet reflection in the evening and see how that contributes to your sleep quality.
There are more than a few habits here to get you started on a path to better sleep, so slowly make your way through the list and see which ones have a significant impact on your sleep.