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What is Sleep Hygiene and does it involve flossing?

When I think of hygiene, I think of my bathroom routines, not what I do to set myself up for a good night's sleep. Read on about what sleep hygiene is and a few ways to create routine around it.

Sleep hygiene is all about getting a good night's sleep which includes getting to sleep and staying asleep and if woken up, getting back to sleep. Optimizing conditions for better sleep. This includes your daily and nightly rituals or routines and creating the right space for sleep. Creating good habits as with sleep contributes to better sleep.

Environmental Set-up

This involves making your bedroom space as hospitable to sleep as possible including the use of blackout shades or blinds, minimizing light from phones, TV's, computers, comfortable mattress and covers that keep you at the right temperature and support for your body, reduce noise levels, maybe some calming scents and no distraction from visitors in bed.

Daily and Evening Routines

Keeping our circadian rhythms in sync is key to better sleep. This means getting enough daylight. Stay active throughout the day, but titrate down after 7 p.m. on very active exercising. Eating too late can be a bummer for your sleep, so try to eat before 7 pm and then if you have a snack after 7, make it light. We may also get in the habit of doing everything from our taxes to eating in bed throughout the day and evening. Just use your bed for sleeping and sex.

Naps are lovely and can help regain some energy and focus, but limit them to 20 minutes and make them a early afternoon rest. This way your schedule is not out of whack. Other aspects of making these changes to your sleep hygiene is to be consistent as much as you can. You may travel for vacation and your sleep hygiene routine may be off, but if you travel a lot for work, consistency is even more important

Here are some specifics you can do at bedtime:

  • Be consistent on what time you go to sleep and what time you wake up. Set an alarm if you need that reminder.

  • No electronics at least one hour before bedtime. A book, puzzle, crafts, guided meditation or just a few simple stretches plus your bathroom routine are about as stimulating the pre-bed could get. One of my favorite ways to wind down is to pet my furry friends.

  • Take a warm shower in the evening followed by a lovely oil massage of Abyhanga

  • Turn off as many lamps or overhead lights in the bedroom as possible. Or if you have a light dimer, use that.

  • If you begin to feel sleepy in the evening, try to get to bed within 90 minutes of that time. It is not always possible, but you may have lost that window where you can fall asleep easily.

  • Try relaxation music(check out the playlist below, a short calm breathing practice or soothing meditation or visualization.

  • If you can't get to sleep within 20 minutes, get up and do some of the above calm activities and try again.

  • And finally if you get frustrated with falling asleep or waking up, be compassionate with yourself. Worrying, anger, stress only will feed into the sleepless cycle.

Happy Sleeping.

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