The Ultimate Sleep Hygiene Checklist
Having difficulty falling asleep? These healthy habits can help you achieve a deeper, more restful night's sleep.
Sleep Hygiene Checklist: A 5-Step Plan For a Better Night’s Sleep
Just as you follow a daily routine to keep your skin and teeth healthy, it’s important to adopt behaviours that promote sleep. “Sleep hygiene,” a term doctors use, doesn’t refer to how clean you are when you go to bed, but to these sleep-promoting behaviours. The idea is to avoid habits that interfere with a good night’s sleep and to follow healthy habits that promote it. Studies find that 70 to 80 per cent of people with chronic insomnia benefit from non-drug approaches like the following sleep hygiene checklist.
Reduce your caffeine intake
Stop drinking caffeinated beverages and eating caffeinated foods, including chocolate, even if you’re sleepy during the day. Don’t forget that some medications, like Excedrin, contain large doses of caffeine. Have healthy non-caffeinated treats planned or on-hand for when you’d usually crave a coffee.
Here’s what happens to your body when you start drinking eight glasses of water a day.
Keep a regular sleep schedule
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. We know it doesn’t sound like fun, but once you’re used to it you’ll find that not having to adjust to different bedtimes and wake-up times throughout the week does a lot of good. You might find the extra morning hours on the weekend make room for other types of healthy habits, like that running group you’ve been meaning to join.
Hide the bedside clock
If you hide the bedside clock, you won’t see it when you wake up in the middle of the night and obsess over how little time you have left to sleep. Ironically, this tends to keep us up, rather than help us sleep for that precious bit of time.
Prepare your bedroom for sleep
Prepare your room for sleep by buying room-darkening shades or using a sleeping mask to block light, placing your bed against an inside wall to limit your exposure to noise and using a white-noise machine to drown out any racket. (Here are more sleep aids that are backed by science.) Also be sure to keep your bedroom cool.
Keep the bedroom a bedroom
You’ve likely heard it said before: use the bedroom only for sleep and sex. That way, when you get into bed to sleep, your body will know it’s time to nod off and not time to, say, start working on that report or catching up on television.
After this sleep hygiene checklist has become routine, explore these natural ways to fall asleep fast.