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November 27, 2017

Top 10 Healthy Sleeping Habits to Put into Practice

healthy sleeping habits
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

A good night’s sleep is necessary to keep you healthy and make sure you are your best self during the workday. Our bodies heal while we sleep. Our immune systems and hormones depend on sleep to stay balanced. Even our memories rely on sleep to function properly. And all these depend on your healthy sleeping habits.

With our busy, hectic lifestyles, many of us don’t get the quality sleep that we really need to wake up refreshed. The National Sleep Foundation has many resources designed for those who want to improve their sleep. These resources include articles, videos, and lists.

Since making changes to your sleep lifestyle can be a challenge, we have researched ten easy ways to ease into healthy sleeping habits. The tips below are just some of the many healthy sleeping habits that will improve your sleep hygiene.

Healthy Sleeping Habits

1. Stick to a Schedule

Keeping your sleep schedule consistent throughout the week is one of the most important healthy sleeping habits. This means going to sleep the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning. A set schedule and routine will help you improve your time asleep over time.

Choose a time that allows you to get the recommended sleep hours for your body. Make sure you keep this schedule on weekends as well as weekdays for the best results. When disruptions to your schedule cannot be avoided, try to limit them to within an hour of your scheduled time and make sure to return to your schedule the following day.

2. Darken the Room

A dark room is another vital, yet simple of our healthy sleeping habits. Check your room for blinking lights from electronics; try to avoid nightlights if possible.

Close your bedroom door if you have other people in the house who keep lights on at night. If needed, put a towel under the door to block as much light as possible. This will help you fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the entire night.

3. Keep It Cool

Your bedroom should be between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range is ideal for deep sleep. Use fans or air conditioners if needed to achieve this. Keeping yourself cool should be a priority of your new healthy sleeping habits. Fans and AC units can also provide relaxing white noise to further promote sleep.

4. Avoid Naps

Naps should be avoided as one of the most important healthy sleeping habits. Naps disrupt your sleep schedule and throw off your body’s clock. If you have to nap, try to make sure it is less than 30 minutes. You should definitely avoid all naps after 5 pm.

5. Power Down

Our phones emit light and frequencies that can keep us awake at night. Put your phone down and turn off the TV at least thirty minutes before you need to be asleep. If possible, keep your phone away from your bed or in another room while you sleep.

Many professionals recommend not keeping a television in the bedroom to avoid the blinking and buzzing that comes with TV’s, cable boxes, and media players. If this is not possible, make sure you turn off and unplug as many of these devices as you can to reduce interference with your body while you are trying to sleep.

6. Evaluate Your Bed

Even high-end mattresses need to be replaced every 9-10 years. If you have had your bed longer than this, chances are you are due for a new mattress. Your box spring may also need to be replaced if it is dented or damages from years of use. Use hypoallergenic bedding when possible and wash your bedding regularly.

7. Avoid Stimulants

Caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants should be avoided whenever possible. If you are still working on quitting these chemicals, you may want to limit their use too close to your bedtime in the meantime. Both caffeine and cigarettes should be avoided at least 4-5 hours before sleep.

8. Keep Dinner Light

Eating a heavy dinner or a very late dinner can keep you up all night as your body is busy digesting. If you eat within 4 hours of your bedtime, keep your dinner on the lighter side.

If you plan on eating heavy, try to eat several hours before it is time for sleep to allow your body time to digest and calm back down for bed. Avoid carb-heavy foods like pasta and bread for dinner whenever you can. The Internet is full of useful ideas for healthy foods you can enjoy before bed as part of your new healthy sleeping habits.

9. Exercise Earlier

Exercising is a great habit in general, but it must be used strategically as one of your healthy sleeping habits. Exercising early in the day or at least several hours before bed will help you sleep better and fall asleep faster. Exercise causes the body to produce hormones which give your brain the signal to stay awake. Try exercising in the morning whenever possible.

10. Lighten Up

You want to go easy on the water as bedtime approaches. Try to drink enough water that you won’t be thirsty, but make sure you have it close enough to bedtime that you won’t be woken up in the middle of the night by the urge to go to the bathroom.

Drawing to a Close

Adopting healthy sleeping habits are a great way to improve your overall health and energy. You don’t have to struggle along to figure out how to sleep better. The ten tips above will get you started on re-wiring your brain for bedtime. Let us know which tips you have tried in the comments below! We would love to hear from you. If you have more tips our readers should try, let us know.

Image sources: 1, 2

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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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