Healthy Sleep Hygiene
Exposure to sunlight and the blue light given off by electronics has a huge effect on our circadian rhythm as they both blunt the release of melatonin, our natural sleep hormone. Take steps to ensure that you are supporting a natural circadian rhythm:
- Decrease light exposure in the evening; dim the lights in your house and turn off any non-essential lighting
- At least an hour before bed, turn off all electronics and overhead lighting; if you must use electronics, download the app f.lux which helps to decrease the blue light emitted by your electronic devices
- Ensure that your bedroom is dark as even moderate light exposure can interfere with melatonin production
- Create a before sleep ritual during this hour: listen to music, take a warm bath, read a relaxing book, have a cup of caffeine-free tea, practice deep breathing
- Get up and go to bed at the same time every day, even on weekends
- As soon as you get up, get exposure to sunlight. Bright light will inhibit the release of melatonin and encourage the production of cortisol helping to reset your biological clock
If you wake frequently throughout the night, try having a small protein-rich snack before bed or 1 tsp. honey to help stabilize your blood sugar. Ensure that your bed and bedroom are quiet and comfortable. Stay away from caffeine, nicotine and alcohol for at least 4-6 hours before bed Only use your bed for sleeping; this ensures that when you go to bed, your body knows it is time to sleep.
If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. until you feel sleepy and then try again; this helps to break the cycle of viewing your bed as the place where you struggle to get to sleep.
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