If you are interested in Healthy Sleep Hygiene, here are 15 Effective Actionable Ideas (most are immediately actionable), read on. Here you are going to find 15 Effective Actionable Ideas for Healthy Sleep Hygiene. The best part is that most of these are immediately actionable.
Following a well defined sleep routine
Human beings work well with having the same routines, so having a good routine regarding sleep is a good idea. Of course, there may be times when you are not following your usual routine and in these cases, you may need to follow your sleep routine in a different way that works for you in those cases.
For instance, you may be attending a wedding away from home and staying overnight in the hotel. So you know in advance that your sleep routine is not going to be the same as usual. You ideally in advance need to determine are you going to follow your normal sleep routine as closely as possible or are you going to say to throw your normal sleep routine aside for that one night assuming that is okay for you to do.
Going to bed at the same time
Going to bed at the same time every day is a great help. By doing this, you are sending a signal to your body that this is the time to sleep and this is one idea that may help greatly.
Getting up at the same time
Getting up at the same time every day is a great help. Again, by doing this, you are sending a signal to your body that this is the time to get up and this is one idea that may help greatly.
Your physical sleep environment
Ensuring that your sleeping environment facilitates quality sleep. For example, clean sheets, well make bed, bedroom at the right temperate, enough blankets, no noise and no lights all help. Having daylight come into your bedroom when you are trying to sleep does not help. So if this is happening, consider getting thick enough curtains to keep the daylight out.
Computer and smartphone usage
Before going to bed, for a time beforehand, do not use computers or smartphones. I would suggest that the time be two to three hours before bedtime.
You may have to look at accepting incoming important voice calls, however do not use the smartphone as a computing device.
Use the smartphone as a phone for accepting incoming important voice calls. These days, most incoming calls coming in display who the caller is and you will know how important or otherwise these calls really are. You could let it go to voicemail and if the message indicates that it is important, you could phone the person.
You could also let people who phone you to not phone you after a specified time, like nine o’clock in the evening.
If you have a work related mobile phone or pager, you might consider turning it off once you are “off duty”. This remains me of a work colleague years ago, who when going out for lunch would put the work related mobile phone in a drawer at work and then go out for lunch. He guarded that lunch time break (rightly so in my opinion) and it was his break and no-one was going to disturb him on his lunch break. If you had a problem, you simply knew to phone him after lunch.
Make sure that only real emergency high priority stuff can only reach you. You want a phone call from a brother to come through telling you know that your sister is seriously sick however you do not want a Facebook comment that is not important to beep and wake you up, or more likely to beep and prevent you from going to sleep.
Social media usage
Before going to bed, for a time beforehand, do not use your social media. I would suggest that the time be two to three hours before bedtime.
Checking your social media for other peoples’ responses to your social media activities keeps you in “alert mode”. This is not good if you want to fall asleep. You want to be going into “relaxing mode” which helps you to relax and fall asleep.
Make sure that when you go to bed, that social media such as Facebook responses from your Facebook friends do not beep (or flash) and disturb you. These tend to be very low priority things that you can view in “batch mode” later.
Media news usage
Before going to bed, for a time beforehand, do not listen to Media News. I would suggest that the time be two to three hours before bedtime.
Media News tends to be bad and thinking about bad things when going to bed is not going to make going asleep any easier.
Listening to political news which may arouse your emotions and your feelings is also not going to make falling asleep any easier.
Before going to bed, for a time beforehand, do not drink coffee for a number of hours before bedtime. You need to determine the amount of coffee you can drink before it interferes with your sleep before going to bed. Speaking for myself, I do not drink coffee after 6 pm, however I believe everyone is different in this regard.
Soft drink usage
Do not drink excessive amounts of soft drinks before going to bed. I find that I can drink one 330ml can of Coca Cola before bed without interfering with my sleep. However if I drink two cans or more, I find it problematic to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Eating certain foods usage
Do not eat excessive amounts of specific foods before going to bed. Some foods make it harder to sleep. Everyone is different, so this is something you need to monitor yourself. Noting things in a small notebook and reviewing that information every so often is an idea to help you in this process.
Learn how to meditate
Practice meditation on a daily basis may most likely make it easier for you to sleep. Just one of the many unexpected benefits of meditation.
To learn more about meditation, read my meditation section within my Relaxation Techniques article. I have been practicing meditation daily since late 2016. I have done online courses, read books and used popular meditation apps in my meditation journey. That link above will point you to my take on those experiences which I hope you will find useful in your meditation journey.
Before you turn off the light process
Once you are in bed and before you turn off the light, have a process that you follow.
Speaking for myself, I read a novel for between ten minutes and forty minutes. I find that I enjoy that reading time. If you want to fall asleep, make sure that you enjoy the reading material.
Once you turn off the light process
Once you are in bed and turn off the light, have a process that you do to signal that it is time to fall asleep.
Speaking for myself, I practice “meditation in bed” (not strictly meditation however it helps me to fall asleep which is the real aim of this process), then when done, I lie on my side and I find this process allows me to fall asleep fairly quickly. Everyone I assume would be different.
My “meditation in bed” process is:
I settle down in bed and prepare for sleep (close my eyes etc), and do some or all of the following:
- I breath in slowly through my nose at a pace that I find comfortable and breath out slowly through my mouth letting out a loud sigh at a pace that I find comfortable to release any stress or tension that may be in my body. I do this process three or four times.
- I breath in slowly through my nose at a pace that I find comfortable and breath out slowly through my mouth silently (no sigh) at a pace that I find comfortable to release any stress or tension that may be in my body. I do this process three or four times.
- I then practice visualization and see myself in a nice place, usually a beach, using as many of my senses as possible: Smelling the sea fresh air, Feeling the nice breeze of the sea air against my skin, Seeing the blue sky and the blue sea, Hearing the waves lap against the beach, I continue walking along the sea line keeping out of the way of the incoming waves.
- I have some Loving Kindness Phrases I use, so I say them silently for myself first, then other family members, then relatives, then other people I know.
- Then I close out the ‘meditation’ session and prepare for sleep.
Write it down to review later
If there is something on your mind, write it down in a little notebook by your bed before you go to bed. That way you are signalling to your brain, it is written down, you will not forget and you will attend to it later.
This idea also applies if you wake up during the night and can not get back to sleep and there is something on your mind, write it down in enough detail to allow you to remember what it was.
Then make sure that you do review these entries and if necessary take the appropriate actions otherwise this tip may not work for you in the future.
This is because your brain knows that you are not going to do anything with these entries therefore your brain sees this as a waste of time.
Physical exercise considerations
If you do physical exercise too close to bedtime, it can make it harder to fall asleep, therefore it is suggested that you do your physical exercise earlier on in the day. There is also the suggestion that people who exercise experience better quality of sleep than those who do not. This makes sense to me assuming that the person is well enough to exercise.
What if you still have challenges sleeping?
Just understand that there may still be times when you do not get enough quality sleep naturally and you may need to try out alternative approaches. In these cases, you may have to use sleeping pills or the like after consulting with your medical team. Bear in mind that using sleeping pills and the like to aid sleep may not give you the type of sleep that helps you to recharge and may also have unwanted side effects.
In my opinion, this is OK and is an option that is available to you. If you can and with professional medical advice, try to limit that option (the “when” and for “how long”). However life being life, remember to be kind to yourself in this regard.
Another thing to keep in mind is that not all of these ideas are equal. Some of the best ideas are the ones that are extremely easy and simple to actually do, once you are aware of them and give yourself the time to do them.
Of course, I am also assuming that you are doing as many of these ideas that are practical in your case.
How much high end quality sleep do I really need?
This is one of those important questions that needs to be accurately answered, to help you to determine if you are getting enough high end quality daily sleep.
For healthy persons not having any sleep disorders in the 18 years old to 64 years old group, the recommended daily amount of sleep is seven hours to nine hours of sleep per night.
What is the recommended daily amount of sleep?
The recommended daily amount of sleep is based on age and other considerations, including health, stress and so on:
- 18-64 years: Sleep range is 7-9 hours Daily
- 65+ years: Sleep range is 7-8 hours Daily
Sleep recommendations depends on current thinking, current research, the age of the person and the health status of the person. Remember that everyone is different.
Healthy sleep hygiene conclusions
Stress affects sleep. Lack of high quality sleep can increase your stress. This may lead to an never ending cycle. Best to nip it in the bud when and if you can. This is why healthy sleep hygiene is so important.
The sleep ideas and sleep approaches suggested above assume that you are a person that is not suffering from a sleep disorder. There is at least one sleep disorder that is treated with a special machine. If you think that you may have a sleep disorder or you know that you do, you should discuss your sleep concerns with your professional health care providers.
If you have any sleep concerns at all you should discuss them with your professional health care providers.
Back to these effective actionable ideas that promote healthy sleep hygiene that work today, from my experience, I can say that these sleep ideas and sleep approaches work for me most of the time. Why not give them a go and see if they work for you?
May you sleep well.
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