Many people struggle with not being able to get enough sleep to feel rested and energized in the morning. This is can be due to multiple factors, such as diet, lifestyle, sleep hygiene, or physiological issues such as sleep apnea.
The quality of our sleep has a direct impact on our physical health and mental well-being.
Sleep patterns can even affect our hormone balance, weight, skin, chronic pain, cognitive functioning, and mood. Some of the negative consequences of consistent sleep deprivation, also known as sleep debt, are potentially irreversible.
While falling asleep and staying asleep through the night can be challenging, there are natural ways to improve your sleep quality without becoming addicted to sleeping pills, or interrupting your natural circadian rhythm. Mental health and sleep researchers have linked consistent high-quality sleep to improved mental health.
Below you'll find a sleep hygiene checklist to review every evening to ensure that you are doing your part to improve your sleep quality.
Sleep Hygiene Checklist
No caffeine past noon.
Exercise earlier in the day and not in the evening.
Turn off screens and overstimulating media at least an hour before bedtime.
If you love to consume media in the evening to unwind, stick with calming movies or mellow books. Avoid reading or watching things in bed. This makes you associate your bed with wakefulness and not sleep.
Stretch or do yoga.
Take a relaxing bath or shower.
Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet. Wear a sleep mask or earplugs as needed. Sound machines and white noise apps can help to cancel out disrupting sounds.
Practice slow, deep breathing techniques or restorative meditations to quiet your mind as you prepare to fall asleep.
Use aromatherapy to help you relax. Sage, incense, and lavender sprays tend to work well for creating a calming atmosphere.