by Jordan Douglas, HHC
Sleep is one of the most profound ways that we can support our health and well-being. However, disturbed sleep plagues many of us — from the inability to fall or stay asleep, to the monkey mind that loves to run at night, to shift work, to physiological impairments. Herbal and nutraceutical options for sleep support abound, but some of the most helpful interventions are readily accessible and easy to implement. Practicing good sleep hygiene, or steps that ensure good sleep habits, is a foundational key to a good night’s sleep.
Here are five ways to optimize your sleep hygiene:
- Routine: Our sleep-wake cycle is regulated by our circadian rhythm, which loves routine and consistency. Rising and retiring at the same time each day and night, no matter the day of the week, can be helpful in supporting this innate rhythm.
- Minimize electronics: Ideally, all electronics should be off once the sun goes down to support our circadian rhythm. While this isn’t practical for most of us, there are steps you can take to minimize the stimulating effects of electronic devices. Avoid watching TV, playing on the computer or scrolling Instagram for at least an hour before you’re going to bed. If you must still engage with electronics, switch to night mode, put a blue light blocker on your device, or pop on a pair of blue light blocking glasses. Keep electronics out of the bedroom.
- Get moving: The benefits of a daily movement practice are vast and abundant, including supporting a restful night’s sleep. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity — walk, jog, dance, swim, bounce, flow, etc.
- It’s a vibe: Set yourself up for success by cultivating a relaxing bedroom atmosphere. Keep it cool and dark, and keep electronics out of the room. Don’t read, work or eat in bed. Incorporate aromatherapy by diffusing or spritzing calming essential oils in your space; lavender, chamomile, lemon balm and the new Anoush Knockout Blend are some favorites.
- Wind down: Create a ritual that supports you in winding down from the bustle of the day to optimize the transition to rest, relaxation and a good night’s sleep. Make a cup of tea. Draw a bath. Curl up with a good book. Meditate. Find a way to tune in before you turn in.