WholeLife Pharmacy & Healthfoods
Strategies to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene and Why It’s Important
Co-Founder and Pharmacist
Okay hear us out— waking up like you’ve just had the best sleep ever is one of the GREATEST feelings and it helps to frame the rest of the day. Now, for all our fellow sleep strugglers out there, when was the last time you assessed your sleep hygiene? Sleep hygiene is the cornerstone of sleep related disorders including insomnia and restlessness. Keep reading to find out about the strategies to improve your sleep hygiene and why it’s so important…
WHAT IS SLEEP HYGIENE?
Sleep hygiene. The first thing that probably comes to mind is the word ‘cleanliness.’ Well, this is partially true! Sleep hygiene is a term that’s used to describe good sleeping habits and one of the many factors that can contribute to the quality of our sleep is in fact the environment that we choose to sleep in.
Having consistently inadequate sleep can take quite the toll. Sleep disruption can adversely impact your cognitive speed and accuracy, as well as impacting your psychological wellbeing, potentially exacerbating your stress levels. Thus, it’s so important that when we’re struggling to sleep, we assess our current sleeping habits to not only identify anything that may impact sleep but for the ability to make small adjustments to controllable elements for a more restful and quality sleep.
WHAT COULD BE IMPACTING YOUR QUALITY OF SLEEP?
Factors that could potentially be impacting your sleep include but are not limited to:
• Irregular sleep schedule
• Your sleeping environment (are you using electronic devices before bed or using your sleeping space as a place to get work done?)
• Too much caffeine or alcohol before bed
• Sleep disorders (e.g., insomnia or narcolepsy)
• Mental health disorders (e.g., depression and anxiety)
TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP HYGIENE
1. Wake up/go to bed roughly at the same time every day. Our body’s circadian rhythm dictates when to produce wake and sleep related hormones like cortisol and melatonin. Waking up at a consistent time every morning can assist the body’s circadian rhythm to feel like it’s time to wake up when it’s time to wake up and induce sleepiness when it’s time for bed.
2. Create the perfect sleeping environment. It’s vital that you create the perfect atmosphere for sleeping. This may include throwing on an extra blanket if it’s cold, shutting the blinds, wearing an eye mask, or putting in some ear plugs. This can aid in removing any form of discomfort or disturbance during your sleep. Don’t forget! Your bed is for SLEEPING. Avoid using this sacred space for other activities e.g., doing work, eating, the list goes on. Train your body to associate bed with sleep.
3. No electronics before bed! Studies suggest that light-emitting electronics before bed can extend the time it takes to fall asleep, delay the circadian clock, impact levels of melatonin, and reduce alertness the next morning. This is the perfect excuse to not only minimise your daily screen time but to ditch those pesky electronic devices before bed and assist yourself into sleep mode.
4. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Try to avoid consuming caffeine at least 4-6 hours before going to bed. Caffeine is a stimulant and may impact your ability to fall asleep. Similarly with alcohol, it can actually disrupt your sleep quality.
5. Establish a routine– allocate yourself 40-50 mins of wind down time just prior to bedtime. In the morning, wake at the same time every day, go outside and walk for 20 mins with no sunglasses, avoid napping or time on the bed during the day, incorporate exercise into daily routine and use relaxation techniques to alleviate triggers.
HOW CAN OUR WHOLELIFE PHARMACISTS HELP YOU?
If you’re wanting professional advice on what remedies may improve your sleep quality, speak to one of our knowledgeable pharmacists at your nearest WholeLife Pharmacy & Healthfoods store.
Additionally, we offer In Pharmacy Medicine Reviews so we can provide advice individualised to your circumstances. If you’re taking multiple medications to manage a health condition, we can review your medication list to see if it may be contributing to your sleep disruption.
If symptoms persist or worsen, visit your GP.