Feeling anxious and stressed lately? Observe your sleeping habits. You may not be aware of it, but the things you do (or not do) before bedtime can greatly lower your stress levels. In other words, you need to develop and practice a good “sleep hygiene.”
Good sleep hygiene involves habits that can help improve the quality of your much-needed slumber. Without it, you will feel grumpy, restless, and tired — making you feel stressed, instead of refreshed. How can you develop a good sleep hygiene? Read on to find out!
8 Sleep Habits that Can Lower Stress
In order to get a good night’s rest, consider practicing the following habits:
#1 – Create a “sleep-inducing” atmosphere.
Does the sight of your bedroom make you want to lie down and rest? You can create a “sleep inducing” atmosphere by making a few changes. Keep the light out by using dark shades or heavy curtains. Make sure that your room is well-ventilated and cool. If you are sensitive to noise, wear ear plugs or use a “white noise” appliance that can help induce sleep.
Don’t forget about the most important part of the room: your bed. Is your mattress soft and comfortable enough? Do you need an extra pillow to hug or lean your leg against? See to it that your pillows and sheets are arranged in such a way that you’ll be off to dreamland in a minute.
#2 – Develop a “pre-sleep” ritual.
Have you ever noticed how certain activities make us feel relaxed and sleepy after a while? Taking a shower, reading a comic book, or watching TV can help you “wind down” after a long day. If you sleep with a partner, try giving each other a massage to soothe those tired muscles.
#3 – Eat “light” before bed.
Eating a heavy meal or indulging in a “midnight” snack could affect your sleep, or worse, cause indigestion. As much as possible, have your dinner at least three hours before going to bed. If you must have a nighttime snack, make sure that it’s something “light,” like fruit or crackers.
#4 – Check your fluid intake.
We all know how important it is to drink enough water throughout the day. However, try to observe your fluid intake at night. See to it that you are drinking enough to avoid waking up thirsty. But don’t drink too much, either — or you will find yourself waking up constantly to take a trip to the bathroom!
#5 – Avoid drinking coffee or smoking before bedtime.
Caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea, and even chocolate (gasp!) is a “stimulant” that can keep you awake. Likewise, nicotine in cigarettes and tobacco products can also disrupt your sleeping time. And so, to get a good night’s rest, try to avoid drinking coffee or smoking before bedtime.
#6 – Exercise early in the day.
Exercise is not only good for keeping fit, but also for sleeping well. The key is to exercise at the right time. You see, exercise causes our body to secrete “cortisol,” a hormone that activates alertness. What time should you exercise? Working out earlier in the day or at least three hours before going to bed should do the trick.
#7 – Take a nap… or not.
Some people take a nap at midday or early afternoon to feel more energized during the day. If you nap too long, however, you might find it hard to fall asleep at night. If you really need to take a nap, make sure to keep it short, and don’t nap during late afternoons!
#8 – Set and maintain your “internal clock.”
What time do you often go to sleep, and what time do you wake up? Your body’s “internal clock” refers to the optimum schedule for sleeping and waking. Try to stick to these times as much as possible — even on weekends. Once you have established your routine, you will find it easier to sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
As you can see, all it takes is a few habits to get a good night’s rest. By developing and practicing these habits, you can look forward to sleeping well each night. More importantly, you will feel more energized, relaxed, stress-free, and ready to face the day!