Illustration of woman sleeping in bed

These simple tips will help you develop better sleep habits

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14 February 2021

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The first step toward better sleep is better “sleep hygiene” – daily habits that train your body for sleep.

Set expectations for your mind and body by getting into a routine that signals when it’s time to wind down for sleep – which begins the moment you wake up in the morning! Here are the key factors that matter for your sleep hygiene.

1. Bedtime

Go to bed about the same time every night, including weekends.

2. Don’t sleep in

Keep your wake-up time consistent. Don’t sleep in on the weekends.

3. Naps

It’s best to avoid napping. If you must take a nap, set the alarm so you don’t sleep for more than an hour. Don’t take a nap after 3pm.

4. Keep to a schedule

This isn’t just about bedtime and wake-up time. It also means that eating meals, taking medications, exercise and even watching TV should occur about the same time every day, to keep your body clock in sync.

Illustration of women looking in fridge at night

5. Avoid screens

Turn off the tablet, the TV and the phone. The blue light in your screen has the same effect on your brain as sunlight, which means it wakes you up just when you want to be drifting off.

6. Think spa bedroom

Make your bedroom a pleasant, peaceful and relaxing getaway. Get rid of exercise equipment and TVs, and try to discourage small children from coming into your bed.

7. Beds are for sleep and romance

Don’t use the bed for watching TV, talking on the phone, doing homework, or eating and drinking.

8. Work out early

Strenuous exercise is not a good idea right before bedtime. Try yoga.

9. Catch some morning rays

Sunlight keeps your internal clock ticking. Go outside as soon as you wake up and spend at least 15 minutes in the morning sun. (If it’s a particularly bright sun, use sunscreen.)

10. Cool it down

Cool bodies sleep better, but most people keep their bedrooms too warm at night, which can interfere with sleep. Taking a hot bath before bedtime is a good idea, because once you get out of the bath, your body cools down more quickly, which will help you drift off to sleep.

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