Top 5 Tips for Good Sleep Hygiene
September 27, 2018
Top 5 tips for good sleep hygiene that I’ve personally found helpful for getting a great night’s rest:
- Get on a regular schedule and include natural sunlight as part of your daily routine. Going to sleep and waking at the same time each day creates a rhythm for your body. And try to only use your bed for sleep or romance, instead of working on the computer or watching television. Aim for at least 20 minutes of sunshine every day, preferably in the morning, which triggers your brain to release chemicals that regulate sleep cycles.
- Limit electronics in the evening and do not keep a television in your bedroom. Studies show the artificial, bright light can disrupt brain activity and alter sleep hormones like melatonin. Your bedroom should be a quiet, peaceful haven. Avoid computers, smartphones, tablets, and television for one or two hours before bed. You might also try using blue light blocking glasses; while blue light is present in natural sunlight, we’re now exposed to it at all hours of the day from our electronic devices with screens. Using blue light blocking glasses can help us maintain more balanced circadian rhythms, especially if you use screens after dark since blue light suppresses melatonin production.
- Clear your mind. Everyone knows that having too much on your mind can hinder sleep. But turning your mind off can become a challenge. Keep a journal or notebook by your bed and write down your to-do list or ruminations before you go to sleep so you can close your eyes and make it less likely for your mind to spin.
- Perform light stretching or yoga before bed. This relaxes your mind and body. Research shows daily yoga can improve sleep significantly. I personally love including meditation (which can be done at any time of the day) as part of my stress management and sleep supporting routine.
- Use herbal therapies. I recommend 300 to 600 milligrams of passionflower or 320 to 480 milligrams of valerian root extract before bed. Other natural sleep supplements include melatonin or magnesium.
Sleep is usually the first thing we compromise when life gets busy. Shifting that mindset and realizing your sleep schedule is just as important as everything else on your calendar will have immense payoffs for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Mark Hyman, MD