Our sleep hygiene has taken some serious hits—studies show that 40% of Americans are getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night. And it’s wreaking havoc on us, with depression, anxiety, and obesity at all time highs. If it’s one of your goals this year to shape up your sleep habits, it’s never too late to start.
These 5 Easy Rules of Sleep are the easiest ways to change your sleep habits…and they work.
Get Rid of Your Phone
Okay, we don’t mean literally get rid of your phone. But if you’re reading this while you’re in bed, stop. Make it a rule to keep your phone out of your bedroom, period. Get a different alarm clock, set up a bedside table for a reading lamp, and fall asleep reading a book instead. This might be a difficult habit to break at first, but trust us…it’s worth it.
Take this one step further and nix the computer, television, phone, or anything emitting that blue light two hours prior to your bedtime. Studies show that blue lights inhibit the production of melatonin, in turn causing sleep disturbances and difficulty falling asleep. Working late? At least set your devices to nighttime mode.
Of course, talk to your doctor before starting this next one. Did you know that a lack of magnesium is a serious set-back to sleepiness? Americans are seriously low in magnesium, and it’s showing up in migraines, anxiety, and insomnia, among other common health complaints. An epsom salt bath, foot soak, or magnesium supplement or drink can help to combat all three of those problems.
Turn Your Bedroom into a Sleep Oasis
Your bedroom should be a calm, stress-free zone where your mind and body can completely relax (another reason why keeping electronics out is important). For starters, keeping your room tidy and your bed made lends a feeling of relaxation every time you step foot in your room. Another way to create an oasis of comfort? Upgrade your sheets. Breathable, soft bamboo is trendy right now, like this gorgeous bamboo pillowcase set or these sheets that leave you enveloped in silky, smooth comfort.
Start a Workout Routine
Start your sleep hygiene routine first thing in the morning…with a good, solid sweat sesh. Studies show that working out in the morning aids in better quality of sleep, with deeper sleep cycles, more restorative sleep, and a better sleep/wake cycle overall. And good news for you late risers: if working out in the morning isn’t your jam, the afternoon is also just as beneficial. Just try to curb any late night workouts, as high-intensity workouts raise your core body temperature, which interferes with falling asleep.
With all of these rules, it’s important to remember: be consistent. You might feel motivated after a few days of a change in your sleep hygiene, but persistence is key to continued benefits of a new sleep routine. It takes 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic, so stick with it.