Sleep hygiene is about the habits you can get into and the things you can do to help ensure that when it’s time for you to go to bed, you are able to fall asleep and stay asleep. Here are some ways you can improve your sleep hygiene.
Have Regular Sleep and Rising Times
Having a regular bed time was important when you were a child and it is still important as an adult. Unfortunately we lead busy lives and getting to sleep at the same time every night is difficult. It’s a bit easier to wake at set times because our jobs or our schooling force us to wake even when we don’t want to. But when there’s a day off, we treat ourselves by sleeping in later than normal whenever possible. Without a set time for sleeping and for waking it is difficult to train your body for sleep. Without proper training, adequate sleep night after night is difficult.
Learn to Relax
Don’t take your exercise immediately before bed. Nor should you watch an exciting TV show or work on your computer at that time of day. Any activity that has engaged your mind or body means you will be too alert to settle down and sleep will not come easily. You need to relax before bedtime so that you can start the pre sleep wind down. If you don’t relax, you’ll find it takes longer to fall asleep even though you may feel exhausted.
About an hour before you plan to go to bed, start calming your body. Yoga and meditation are perfect ways you can take your mind and body into a relaxed state or you may prefer to have a warm bath and relax in that way.
Another way to bring about a relaxed state is by learning how to do deep breathing. When you are busy concentrating on your breathing, the body automatically begins to relax.
Muscular relaxation is another technique that can be very helpful. In this type of exercise you start relaxing one part of your body and you continue relaxing different parts until you have covered the major parts from head to toe. When you are finished, you go back over your body in your mind. If any part of the body still feels tense, focus on that part until you can get it to feel relaxed.
In this way eventually you will be able to relax without the initial tensing. I love this method as it gives a wonderful feeling in each set of muscles as you notice the contrast betwen being tense and being completely relaxed.
More on sleep hygeine as a cure for insomnia tomorrow