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Rest Well Tonight: Master the "Do's" of Sleep Hygiene

Unfortunately, most people - especially those who have sleep problems - don't even know what sleep hygiene is, much less how to do it right. If you fall into this majority, then you've come to the right place. After you finish reading this article, you'll be a an expert in the realm of sleep hygiene. And this knowledge isn't just a cool way to impress your friends at parties - it'll also help you get better sleep at night, too!

Sleep Hygiene

Basic Principles of Sleep Hygiene

So what is sleep hygiene? Well, it's not a special soap, hair product, or fancy toothpaste that you use in order to get better sleep. Sleep hygiene is a series of habits that, when practice regularly, can virtually eliminate the struggle to fall asleep quickly and get quality rest each night. And when you start getting better sleep, the positive domino effect of health improvements can significantly boost your overall quality of life.

Creating a Sleep-friendly Routine

Yes, we do mean "routine". Once you start practicing the dos of sleep hygiene on a regular basis, and at the same time each day, it will have a significant impact on how quickly you fall asleep at night, as well as the quality of rest you managed to get.

For starters - and this is probably going to be the hardest tip to follow - you'll need to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This may be a struggle at first, especially for people with irregular shift jobs, busy families, or restless individuals who have a hard time sticking to a routine. But practice makes perfect. And once you start going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, eventually, the Circadian rhythm of your body will become so fine-tuned that you won't even need an alarm clock to wake up in the morning!

You're also going to want to establish a regular exercise routine. Studies have shown that exercising during the day is a great way to expend energy that might otherwise keep you wide awake at night. The exercise doesn't have to be too strenuous, either, especially if you're not used to physical activity or have limited mobility. Even a short, 20-minute walk in the early evening can be exactly what you need to help you rest easy at night.

Lastly, there are some daily rituals you should start practicing if you really want to take your sleep game to the next level. Two of the best suggestions are: keeping a sleep journal, and practicing mindfulness exercises at night right before bed. Use your sleep journal to make notes and keep track of the changes you're making, how they affect your sleep, and whether or not you feel well-rested in the morning. Then use the mindfulness exercises, whether it's focused breathing, meditation, or even prayer, to help distract your brain from anxious thoughts of the day. When these anxious thoughts are gone, your brain will be more receptive to sleep.

Creating a Sleep-friendly Environment

Studies show that reducing your core body temperature is an effective way to make yourself feel sleepy. So at night, feel free to get generous with the thermostat on that air conditioner. Sleeping in a hot environment could leave you tossing and turning. Additionally, sleeping in the same bedroom as a noisy pet can be as bad - or worse - than sleeping in the heat.

Lastly, you'll want your bedroom to be as dark as possible. Move all of your electronics out of the room, install blackout curtains on your windows, and/or purchase a thick, soft, comfortable sleep mask to wear to bed each night. When the lights are low, the human body produces more of the sleep hormone melatonin which makes you feel relaxed and tired. too much light, especially from electronic devices, interferes with this natural process and can leave you feeling wide awake at bedtime.

What to Do If "Sleep Hygiene" Doesn't Work for You

Unfortunately, there is a small chance that even if you follow these tips to the letter, you may still be having trouble getting quality sleep at night. If so, that's okay. You didn't do anything wrong. If anything, you may need a little extra advice - and for that, feel free to move on to the second installment of our sleep series entitled "Sleep Hygiene Do not's".

Another way to enhance the effectiveness of your sleep dos is to incorporate a natural herbal sleep aid into your bedtime routine. Our favorite one is a little product called Avinol PM, but you can check that out - as well as some of our other recommendations - right here.