Developing Healthy Sleep Habits
Your daily routine can have a major impact on your nightly routine. So if you are having difficulty getting to sleep at night, it pays to examine your daily behaviors. Small changes during the day can have a big impact at night. You can get started by completing a Sleep Diary. Here’s how:
Keep a sleep diary for two weeks.
For two weeks, keep organized notes about your day. In addition to noting what time you went to bed, what time you woke up, and the quality of your sleep, you should also note the time of meals, snacks, and caffeinated beverages. Keep track of exercise time, TV and computer time, and any naps you might take during the day. After two weeks of this you may see some patterns emerge, which will help you identify habits that need to change.
Here are a few tips to help you get started on your journey to better sleep hygiene:
- Be Consistent: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, as much as possible. This includes weekends and vacation. Make sure to settle on a bedtime that will allow for a minimum of 7 hours of sleep each night.
- Relax: Make your bedroom environment quiet, cool and relaxing.
- Unplug: Turn off the TV and all other electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Don’t worry, Facebook will still be there in the morning.
- Limit Food & Drink: No large meals before bedtime, only light snacks. Avoid alcohol before bedtime, and caffeine in the late afternoon or evening. And reducing fluid intake of any sort before bedtime will in turn reduce late night trips to the bathroom.
Once you complete your sleep diary, you will have solid information to help you settle on an appropriate bedtime, as well as the ideal times to eat meals and snacks. It’s a fantastic way to start establishing healthier sleep habits.