As summer comes to an end, we reflect back on our long summer nights, warm naps on the beach, and living each day for recreation.
The summer lifestyle often results in altered sleep patterns. For parents, teachers, and children alike getting back into the structure of school can create feelings of stress and exhaustion. Many find it difficult to re-establish healthy sleep routines.
The benefits of creating healthy sleeping habits are insurmountable, from a decrease in anxiety/depression symptoms to a decrease in inflammation along with supporting healthy weight loss.
Below are some tips to try in order to build a healthy relationship with sleep or to re-establish sleep hygiene:
1. Set a schedule and a bedtime routine: Going to bed and waking up at consistent times helps regulate your body’s internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up naturally.
2. Avoid caffeine or chocolate later in the day: These substances can interfere with your ability to fall asleep, so it’s best to avoid them in the afternoon and evening.
3. Use your bed only for sleep: Associating your bed with sleep helps create a mental connection between the two, promoting better sleep quality.
4. Avoid late-night heavy meals: Eating heavy meals close to bedtime can disrupt sleep and cause discomfort.
5. Reduce alcohol consumption: While alcohol may make you feel drowsy initially, it can lead to fragmented and restless sleep later in the night.
6. Avoid vigorous exercise about 2-3 hours before bed: Exercise can increase alertness, so it’s best to give your body some time to wind down before sleep.
7. Turn off screens about an hour before bed: The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep.
8. Lower the lights as you prepare for bed: Dimming the lights signals your body that it’s time to start winding down.
9. Try a white noise machine: White noise can mask background sounds and create a soothing environment for sleep.
10. Keep a sleep journal/diary: Tracking your sleep patterns and habits can help identify areas for improvement and potential triggers for sleep disturbances.
11. Do something calming before bed: Engaging in relaxing activities can help quiet the mind and prepare you for sleep.
12. Write down worries in a “worry book”: This technique can help you offload concerns and prevent them from keeping you awake at night.
13. Meditate: Mindfulness practices like meditation can help reduce stress and promote relaxation, aiding in falling asleep more easily.
By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you can foster a healthier sleep pattern and enjoy the numerous benefits that come with it, including improved mood, better cognitive function, and overall well-being.
Remember that building a healthy sleep routine may take time, so be patient with yourself as you work towards establishing better sleep habits.