It’s Sleep Awareness week!

Lack of sleep is such a universal problem that the National Sleep Foundation has proclaimed the week of March 10th as Sleep Awareness Week.

Studies show that sleep quality is directly related to sleep hygiene, meaning your nighttime habits might be causing you to lose out on the benefits of quality beauty sleep.

When you don’t get enough sleep it affects your health, daily functions and brain.

The National Sleep Foundation defines sleep hygiene as “a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness.”

Here are some sleep hygiene behaviors and tips on how to have a good night sleep!

Know How Much Sleep YOU need

Throughout our lives, our sleep needs change, but as a general rule, adults in good health typically require 7 to 7.5 hours of sleep. Infants, children, and adolescents need more to differing extents.

You may need less or more than the recommended amount.

As a start, set aside enough time for you to get at least 7 hours of sleep.

If you do this for a few days and still wake up feeling unrested, gradually increase the number.

If you wake up each morning after only 6 hours and feel great, don’t worry about it, your body is getting the sleep amount it needs.

What’s important is that you feel well-rested when you wake up and not groggy or continuously tired.

Watch What You Eat

Some people sleep better if they have a small snack before bed but you want to avoid large meals late at night.

Large meals can make us sleepy but often result in disrupted sleep a few hours later and sleeping after a large meal can make acid reflux worse in people who suffer that condition.

If you want to sleep better, eat better.

When deciding on a bedtime snack, it’s important to incorporate foods that are known to promote sleep, while avoiding ones that do the opposite.

The best foods for sleep include yogurt, oats, nuts, milk, rice, cherries, and bananas.

The foods you should avoid are anything sugary, fatty or rich.

Limit Coffee and Alcohol

While alcohol may make you drowsy, it disrupts your sleep by preventing you from getting into a deep sleep.

Caffeine is a stimulant, it hypes up your nervous system, so your brain thinks it’s time to wake up instead of wind down.

Other substances, like marijuana and nicotine, can also interfere with sleep.

If you’re a fan of any of these substances, limit your intake to avoid them interfering with your sleep.

Try to stop using them 4 to 6 hours before you plan on falling asleep.

Late night Workouts

Working out can help de-stress the body and reduce anxiety but if done too close to your bedtime your body might still feel the adrenaline making it difficult to fall into a more relaxed state.

Strenuous exercise should be done 3 hours before bed to let the brain slowly adjust and relax.

Dedicate your Bedroom to Sleep and Sex

Having a dedicated place for sleep is important.

If you need to invest in a new mattress, it will be worth it!

It is important to subconsciously connect being in bed with sleeping.

Remove any distraction items that might keep you awake like a t.v or computer.

Don’t read in bed or watch videos on the phone (unless they’re my videos haha!).

Sleep experts say your bed should be used for sleeping and sharing intimate moments with your partner because the brain has a hard time adjusting to sleep mode if it gets used to eating, watching tv, studying or just hanging out in the bedroom.

Treat your bedroom as a haven for sleep.

Limit Screen Time before Bed

Some people have televisions in their bedrooms but watching TV right before going to sleep is not a good idea if you are having sleep issues.

Looking at computer screens, phones and tablets shortly before bed is actually harmful to sleep, the light from the screens tricks your brain into thinking it is daytime and time to wake up.

Playing games, checking social media or checking emails are ways to either stress or excite you, again waking the brain up instead of relaxing it.

Try to stop using all electronics 1 full hour before bed including your television, computers, phones, e-readers, and tablets.

 If you absolutely can’t tear yourself away from any of these items, turn on the night mode so the blue light is off.

Dark Cool Room

Keeping the temperature in your bedroom low is not only good for sleep but it is also good for your metabolism and blood flow.

Keeping your bedroom dark also keeps it cool, by blocking out any heat from outside and the darkness convinces your brain that it’s night time.

 If you live in a very light-polluted area, get an eye mask and/ or a blackout curtains to help block out the light.

Limit Naps

Sometimes naps are essential for that extra boost during a long day, but frequent naps or longer naps can interfere with nighttime sleep.

If you do nap, limit it to a short power nap of 30 minutes or less.

If you nap longer than that, you risk entering deep sleep, will wake up even groggier and likely have a tougher time falling asleep later that night.

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