It’s sleep month, and we’re kicking off a four-part series on getting a good night’s sleep.
As a new mom with a full-time job and a very busy mind, I can have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. Over the next four weeks, I’ll share what helps.
This week, it’s all about good sleep hygiene and setting yourself up for success.
Tip #1: Give yourself time to unwind so you can go to sleep feeling calm.
Instead of scrolling or checking emails, do something relaxing instead, like:
- 🌊 Breathing in Waves or 🦋 Butterfly Body Scan for Sleep in the Stop, Breathe & Think app. (This sleep activity is for kids, but we know you’ll love it.)
- 💤 Yoga for Sleep
- 🛀 Take a hot shower or bath.
- 📙 Read!
- ✏️ Write in a journal. If your mind is racing, it can help to write down your thoughts before bed.
If you have a hard time resisting the urge to check emails or social media, don’t take your devices to bed with you! Instead, make a ritual of turning your devices off and charging them in a separate room before you head to your bed. Practice your favorite breathing techniques with the SB&T Breathing Timer during the day, so that you know how to do it as you fall asleep.
Tip #2: Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (yes, even on weekends).
Your circadian rhythm is a 24-hour internal clock that runs in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals (a.k.a. the sleep/wake cycle). Your circadian rhythm works best when you create regular sleep habits. Try to set up a sleep schedule to sync with your body’s natural rhythm, and stick to it. To understand more about your personal circadian rhythm, I recommend reading Sleepyhead: The Neuroscience of a Good Night’s Rest by Henry Nicholls.
Tip #3: Keep your bedroom cool and dark.
The optimal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 68 degrees F. To get my room dark enough, I cover my windows and alarm clock. You can also try an eye mask.
Tip #4: Avoid caffeine, sugar and alcohol.
For some, a cup of coffee in the afternoon can keep you from falling asleep later that evening, and while alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it will often wake you up several hours later. Eating sugar will make it harder to fall asleep, and later, when your blood sugar drops, it can wake you up.
Tip #5: Get plenty of exercise.
At least 30 minutes of exercise per day, ideally in the morning, can improve your sleep, but be sure not to exercise too close to bedtime.
Here’s to a healthy and sustained sleep schedule. 😴