Sleep Hygiene

Most of us have an understanding of the importance of sleep and the benefits it has for our mental and physical well-being. However, most of us do not have an awareness of what it means to practice and maintain sleep hygiene. 

Let’s first consider some benefits of consistent and healthy sleep…

  • Helps us to remain refreshed and alert throughout the day
  • Aids in our concentration and focus on tasks
  • Improves memory 
  • Benefits our mental health and allows us to react mindfully when we are emotionally escalated
  • Maintains healthy digestion, restores muscles and joints, rejuvenates the skin

These are only a few of the many important benefits of obtaining regular healthy sleep in our lives. Now let’s consider the importance of how we are preparing for sleep. 

It is important to remember that our minds need decompression time. Have you ever tried to go to sleep right after checking your emails, scrolling through social media, watching an intense show, or eating? For some of us, this results in us lying awake for another hour, our minds jumping around to multiple concerns, or our anxiety and worries rising to the surface and running us wild. This is because the mind needs time to decompress after the long day we have had before it is time to shut down. Our mind needs time to wind down and relax before it can turn off for the day. This is the reason why it is so important to establish a healthy sleep routine. 

A sleep routine allows your mind time to wind down, relax, and prepare for bed. It also helps your mind associate activities with behavior. Engaging in the same activities every night, before bed, helps communicate to your mind that it is time to relax. It is important to remember that during this time, we are allowing our mind to shut down without being continuously stimulated, as it has been throughout the day. Turning off the TV, putting the phone away, and setting the caffeine aside an hour before bedtime can help

Here are some tips and ideas for activities to add in to your sleep routine:

1. Yoga

Engaging in restorative yoga poses before you go to bed (you can even practice them in bed) can have incredible benefits for healthy sleep. It can help your muscles relax and release tension you may have been carrying throughout the day. It is also an amazing way to mindfully connect to your body, which is always a great practice for your physical and mental health.

2. Drinking Caffeine-Free Tea

Any tea with chamomile or lavender is a great place to start.

3. Journaling 

Journaling can be a wonderful way to take all of the worries from the day and leave them on the page to deal with tomorrow.

4. Mindfulness Meditation

Practicing being mindfully aware of our experiences can help us to widen the gap between our emotion and our reaction. Practicing this every day can be so beneficial for our mental health, but this can also help prepare the mind for sleep. 

How can you add more healthy activities into your sleep routine?