A healthy, balanced life is made possible by quality sleep hygiene. A full night of sleep helps us repair muscles, restore our immune system, improve memory and even boost our mood! If you’re a teen, getting a full night of rest can mean better grades in school and increased energy throughout the day. But so many of us struggle with getting quality sleep every night. Luckily, there are a few actions you can take now to improve your sleep.
Set up a regular routine time
A consistent schedule is one of the best ways to get a good night of sleep. This takes a little more time and effort, but it pays off in the long run. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night is a good place to start, but picking standard times to consistently doze off and wake up will help your body establish a routine. Consistent sleep is closely linked to better performance in school, more energy and several more benefits. Letting yourself sleep in a little too much can disrupt your sleep cycle, so challenge yourself to stick to this schedule even on weekends and vacations!
Find a good temperature for sleeping
A comfortable setting is key for healthy and uninterrupted sleep! Part of that is finding the right temperature that keeps you comfy all night without waking up in a sweat or trying to find an extra blanket.
Is it better to sleep cool or hot?
Cooler temperatures promote better sleep throughout the entire night. Sleep experts suggest a temperature around 65-70°F is what to aim for. Your body cools down as you fall asleep, so the cool air helps keep your body’s temperature stable as it lowers throughout the night. A room that’s too warm will be more likely to wake you up.
Avoid eating a heavy meal or spicy foods before bedtime
While the occasional snack before bed is perfectly fine, there are a few things to avoid before turning in for the night. A big meal will be too much to digest and could cause an upset stomach. However, it’s also important to avoid going to bed hungry, as a properly fueled body helps repair muscle and memory.
What is okay to eat before bed?
If you do feel cravings for a nighttime snack, try fruits or veggies, or a small portion of healthy fat like avocado or nuts. The occasional cookie or scoop of ice cream is warranted, but try not to make it a habit just before bed.
- Best nighttime snacks:
- Whole grain toast with peanut butter or cheese
- Strawberries or raspberries
- Apples with peanut butter
Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening
Try your best to avoid coffee, energy drinks or caffeinated tea 4-6 hours before bedtime. Too much can elevate your heart rate and prevent you from getting a full night of sleep. Instead of caffeinated beverages, focus on hydrating with water or a soothing herbal tea an hour or two before bed. Dehydration can actually get in the way of producing melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy.
A clean, comfortable space creates less stress and lets you relax for a night of quality sleep. High-quality bedding also goes a long way in promoting rejuvenating sleep — so it’s important to use comfortable supports.
Avoid screen time
Falling asleep to your favorite show or movie, or scrolling through your phone may seem like a relaxing way to wind down, but the blue light emitted from screens can prevent your body from releasing melatonin. Healthier alternatives to scrolling through your phone before bed include reading a book, meditating or practicing guided imagery exercises and leaving your phone in another room.
How long before bed should I avoid blue light?
The answer will depend on who you ask, but in general, you should try to avoid screen time a half hour before going to bed. This lets your body produce melatonin to induce sleepiness, allowing for a more restful night.
Get regular exercise
Getting a half hour to an hour of aerobic (or cardio) exercise each day will help establish healthy sleep patterns. Exercise is a well-known mood booster that helps fight stress and anxiety, which means your mind will be more at ease when you settle in for the night.
Is it bad to exercise before bed?
While getting in a daily run, swim, or bike ride will help promote a better quality of sleep, try to schedule your activities in the morning or afternoon. Remember how temperature plays a big role in sleep quality? Your body warms up with exercise, and if it’s too warm before bed, you may have trouble falling asleep.
Using essential oils for aromatherapy is a soothing way to promote better sleep every night. Your sense of smell communicates directly with your amygdala, the emotional center of your brain. This is why certain smells trigger memories, and it’s also how aromatherapy works to relax or invigorate your senses. All you need is an oil diffuser and a small bottle of essential oil, both of which you can find at your local grocery store. Add a few drops of the oil into the diffuser’s water and enjoy the relaxing aroma. Don’t have a diffuser? No problem. Place a few drops of essential oil on your wrists and drift off to sleep.
Which essential oils are best for sleep?
Certain essential oils help promote relaxation while others have an energizing effect. So if you’re integrating essential oils into your routine, it’s important to pick a scent that you enjoy and helps make you feel a little more relaxed. Here are some of the best-known essential oils to help promote sleep:
Practicing mindfulness and meditation is another way to relieve stress and anxiety. Taking time to center yourself throughout the day can help you relax when it’s time to go to sleep. Learn how to practice mindfulness with our library of videos that help walk you through many activities.