Fitness Facts: Sleep hygiene

By Nicole Mis
Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic

Paying attention to your sleep patterns and obtaining healthy sleep is important to maintain both physical and mental health and improve your overall quality of life and productivity.

There are several factors that inhibit our ability to fall asleep and stay asleep – mainly, the use of technology and our hectic day-to-day lifestyle. The key to forming good sleep hygiene practices is routine and forming good habits.

Here are tips on how to set a bedtime routine and improve your sleeping habits:

  • Have a set wake-up time on both weekends and weekdays. The consistent schedule allows your body to maintain a rhythm and allows for more consistent sleep.
  • When preparing for bedtime, allow for 30 minutes of winding down with activities such as listening to quiet music, stretching, reading a book or relaxation exercises.
  • Dim the lights in your room and unplug from electronics at least 60 minutes before bed. These both cause mental stimulation. The blue light from your electronic devices decreases melatonin production, which is a hormone that helps facilitate sleep.
  • Don’t toss and turn. If you do not fall asleep after 20 minutes, get up and stretch or engage in other relaxation techniques before trying to fall asleep again.
  • Avoid napping during the day.
  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol too close to bed.
  • Exercise during the day.
  • Avoid large meals close to bedtime, especially foods that are spicy.
  • Diffuse calming scents such as lavender.

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References:

Greenough, G.P., & Judd, B.G. (2017), "Sleep Disorders," in T.M. Buttaro, J. Trybulski, P. Polgar-Bailey, & J. Sandberg-Cook, Primary Care: A Collaborative Practice, (5th ed., pp. 1209-1218), Elsevier

Vyas, N. (2020), "Sleep Hygiene," Sleep Foundation, sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene

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Romans 8:28