Sleep Hygiene: What It Is and Why It Matters
Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for yourself to progress on your healing journey. The benefits of getting good sleep include better decision-making, more focus, emotional resilience, a stronger immune system, and many other benefits. Good sleep begins with good sleep hygiene.
What is sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is important to understand if you’re going to get good sleep. Sleep hygiene is all of the things you do every day that will help you sleep better at night. Believe it or not, good sleep starts first thing in the morning and is an all-day affair. Here’s how to improve your sleep, no matter how you’re sleeping right now.
Wake up at the same time every day. It’s tempting to sleep in on the days when you can, but getting your body into a good rhythm is more important. Don’t throw off your sleep pattern for a few more minutes of sleep.
Eat well and exercise. The better you eat and the more consistently you exercise, the better you’ll sleep at night. You can change up your eating and exercise habits for variety, but keep your sleep habits the same.
Pick a “wind-down time” in the evening. Start calming down before you even head to the bedroom to sleep. Start thinking calm, relaxing, positive thoughts. Spend time meditating. Do whatever you need to do to maintain a “no negative thoughts” zone before going to bed.
Try gratitude and affirmations. Maybe you have a hard time falling asleep once you’re lying down. Instead of panicking over what you need to do the next day (and filling your body with stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol), try focusing on the things you’re grateful for. You can also try affirmations, saying things like, “I am warm. I am comfortable. I am safe.” Tell yourself soothing and calm things. Any worries can wait until tomorrow.
If you wake up, try again. Don’t focus on how you should be asleep and work yourself into a frenzy about all the sleep you’re NOT getting. Say, “At least I’m resting,” and try winding down again through meditating, thinking positive thoughts, focusing on gratitude, and positive affirmations.
Honor your sleep. You may have trouble falling asleep or difficulty sleeping through the night, but don’t repeat that thought to yourself – change the story. Tell yourself that you are getting better at sleeping, getting better at taking care of yourself, and getting better at allowing your body time to regenerate at night. Don’t give up; good sleep is worth the effort.
Take some time today to think of what you can do to improve your sleep. Pick one thing. Maybe it’s getting a better pillow or thinking through some affirmations. Maybe it’s giving yourself more “lie in bed” time at night before your actual bedtime. Whatever you think will help, try it. And keep trying it. When you get good sleep, your body responds, and you can take better care of yourself. What will you do to sleep better tonight?