What are Healthy Sleeping Habits and Sleep Hygiene?

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What can I do to get a good nights sleep?

While the word “hygiene” conjures up images of hand-washing and teeth-brushing, sleep hygiene is different. It’s the habits that you can put in place each evening to optimise sleep. And it doesn’t take much effort. Just a few simple changes can make the difference between a good night’s sleep and night spent tossing and turning.

Escapada Top Tips for a Better Nights Sleep:

Environment:

Your bedroom should be at the forefront on the journey for better sleep. A third of your life is spent sleeping in a bedroom. All too often, people overlook the importance of what a bedroom actually means in getting great sleep.

Many of us use our rooms to watch TV, browse the internet, talk with our spouses about life decisions, and a variety of other activities not associated with sleep.

If sleep is important to you, it's time to start looking at how your bedroom impacts your sleep, and methods to improve it.

  1. Clean Out All the Clutter

Your room isn't your gym, office, or playroom. To begin associating it with sleep, you need to get all the stuff out that is potential distractions. Put the treadmill in another, get rid of the computer and work desk, and most importantly (and probably the hardest) ditch the television.

Having your bedroom as the place to go for other activities only leads to your brain associating the room with other things. If your bedroom is where your office is, it can help make your mind busy and even anxious about work, because you correlate the room with busy work.

Getting rid of the TV helps in many ways. For one, it's too easy to watch it before bedtime as it's in the room. Engaging programs can keep your mind awake longer as you get sucked into the story.

TVs also emit blue light, which can trick the body's production of melatonin into slowing down. Light is associated with wakefulness. When there's light, your body doesn't produce as much melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep, making it more difficult to fall asleep.

And speaking of distractions...

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2. Ditch All Electronics

For the same reasons you shouldn't have a TV or computer in your bedroom, you also shouldn't have a cellphone, tablet, laptop, portable game console, or e-reader in the room either. Most of these devices also emit the sleep stealing light and are used for consuming content that may rob you of sleep because it's so engaging.

3. Keep Your Room Cool

As you go to sleep your body temperature begins to drop as it prepares itself for slumber. Keeping your room a cool temperature (between 60-67 degrees) can help aid the process of cooling your body.

4. Use Aromatherapy

Research has shown that using certain scents in a room can help promote sleep. What aromatherapy does is creates an atmosphere that is relaxing and calming, which can help you wind down to sleep. It is also good as part of a routine that, through continued use, your brain will pick up as a cue that it's almost time for bed. The best scents to use are lavender and vanilla.

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5. Make Your Bed Comfortable

If you're waking up feeling stiff, numb, or tired, or maybe just had great sleep in a hotel bed, it may time to replace your mattress and/or pillows. Most mattresses are designed to last up to 10 years, but if your mattress has lumps, sags, rips, or holes you may want to think about replacing it. Similarly if you find yourself constantly fluffing your pillow throughout the night, it may be time for a new one.

You spend a third of your life sleeping on your bed, and while up front costs of a new bed may be scary, it may be worth your while to get the best that you can afford. Choosing a mattress really comes down to personal preference, whether you sleep better with a bed that is firm, bouncy, or has a little buoyancy, there is a mattress to fit your needs. 

There are mattresses available to suit all types of sleep needs including adjustable stiffness, preferred sleep positions, disturbances from a tossing/turning partner, or even have covers if you have allergies to certain fabrics or dust mites.


Adjust your Lifestyle:

  1. Keep a consistent sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day—even on the weekends—reinforces the natural sleep-wake cycle in your body.

  2. Skip the nap: Sleeping throughout the day makes it harder to fall asleep at night. If you must, limit your snooze session to 30 minutes, and give yourself at least four hours between the nap and when you plan to go to bed for good.

  3. Develop a bedtime routine: Creating a set of habits to run through at night will help your body recognize that it’s time to unwind. For instance, 30 to 60 minutes before bed, read in bed or take a warm shower or bath. (The warm water trick is particularly helpful – as you cool off, the drop in your body temperature will help you feel sleepy!)

Make Healthier Choices:

The foods and beverages you consume, whether you smoke, and how often you exercise can all play a role in how well you hit the sack.

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  1. Stay away from stimulants at night: Nicotine and caffeine are chemicals that are designed to help keep you awake, so drinking tea or coffee or eating chocolate (all of which contain caffeine), or using anything containing tobacco or nicotine should be avoided for four to six hours before you plan to go to sleep. Even alcohol, which initially makes you feel sleepy, makes it harder to get high-quality slumber, so skip more than a single glass of liquor, wine, or beer in the evening—especially as bedtime gets closer.

  2. Pay attention to food and drink intake before bed: Feeling hungry or overly full at bedtime means that you’re less likely to get comfortable sleep. Plus, drinking too many liquids late in the evening could cause you to make multiple trips to the bathroom throughout the night. So choose your food and beverages wisely and time your meals accordingly.

  3. Get physical during the day—at the right time: Exercising during the day fosters sleep at night, but keep this in mind: Exercising too close to bedtime may keep you wired and make it hard to settle into sleep. Listen to your body; most people will want to work out at least a few hours before bed, if possible, or at least swap their Crossfit routine for something more relaxing, like yoga, if they are working out in the later evening hours.


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Ingrid’s Night Cap;

Warm some milk (almond/oat or whichever milk you like). Mix half milk with half water. Add a pinch of nutmeg and a dash of honey.

You can also add cinnamon to make it sweet, especially nice during the Winter….

Enjoy…..