Healthy Sleep Hygiene
So if you are experiencing the effects of poor sleep, great improvements can be made by making a few changes to your daily routine and habits.
It's called sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene is a term used to describe good sleep habits. Considerable research has gone into developing a set of guidelines and tips which are designed to enhance good sleep
Go to bed at the same time each day.
Get up from bed at the same time each day. It's important to maintain both these even on weekends and day's off. Your internal body clock works best if you have a regular routine.
Get regular exercise each day, preferably in the morning. Research indicates that regular exercise improves sleep, however more strenuous aerobic exercise is best done in the morning and gentle exercise such as stretching, yoga or walking in the evening.
Get regular exposure to outdoor or bright lights during the day. Dim your lights or use yellow light for the evenings.
Keep the temperature of the bedroom comfortable. Not too hot or cold.
Keep the bedroom quiet when sleeping.
Keep the bedroom dark. This may mean installing black out curtains or wearing an eye mask.
Use the bedroom for sleep or sex. This will help you associate your bed with sleep, not with other activities like paying bills, talking on the phone, or watching TV.
Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine. This could include a warm bath or shower, aromatherapy, reading, meditation or listening to soothing music.
Use a relaxation exercise just before going to sleep. This could be relaxing imagery, breathing techniques or guided meditation. There are many apps available for this. Even if you don't fall asleep. This will allow your body to rest and feel more relaxed.
This is a good time to focus on what you are grateful for and the positive things that have happened in the day.
Exercise just before bed. Try to keep it no closer than 3-4 hours before bed.
Don't engage in stimulating activity before bed, such as playing a competitive game, watching TV or movies and avoid arguments or heated discussion with loved ones.
Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening, this includes, coffee, some teas, chocolate and soda's.
Avoid the use of alcohol to help you sleep. It actually interrupts your sleep cycle.
Don't read or watch TV in bed.
Don't go to bed hungry or too full.
Don't take over the counter sleeping pills without consultation. Tolerance can develop rapidily with these medications.
Don't take daytime naps. If you absolutely have too then no more than 20 minutes and not close to bed time.
Don't lay there and command yourself to go to sleep and avoid clock watching.
Don't lie in bed for more than 20-30minutes, instead get up, go to a different room and participate in a quiet activity, return to bed when you are sleepy. Don't turn on lights or sit in front of the TV or computer, this will only stimulate your brain to wake-up. Do this as many times as necessary.
Try to avoid thoughts of worry. Easier said than done but breathing to calm the mind can help.
Don't change your daytime routine the next day if you didn't sleep well.
Don't increase your caffeine intake the next day, this can keep you up the following night.
As a naturopath there are some excellent herbs and nutrients that can assist your body with sleep. These need to be prescribed by a qualified naturopath, so avoid over the counter supplements as they may interact with any medications you may be taking or not be suited to your needs.
Contact the clinic for more information on how natural therapies can improve your sleep.