Good sleep eludes so many of us in our stressful, hectic lifestyles. Most of us don’t get enough sleep and the sleep we do get is less than optimal. Not having enough sleep makes us cranky and less able to function the next day. But, practicing good sleep hygiene can set you up for having more restful and restorative sleep. Here’s how to design your environment for restorative, deep, and restful sleep.
- Sleep in a totally dark room. Any light at all, especially the blue wavelengths of light, will inhibit the body’s natural melatonin production. Blue light signals our brains: “It’s daytime! Time to be awake!” You can get some blackout curtains for the windows to block light from outside (in my experience, the black curtains do the best job). Make sure lights on electronics are covered up, or better yet, remove them from the room altogether.
- Turn off the electronics. Put away your phone and all social media an hour before bed and dim the lights. Besides the fact that an incendiary political Facebook post from your cousin might kick off a cascade of stress hormones and derail your mental unwinding before sleep, bright light and especially blue-toned light from the screen will keep your body from producing melatonin. I like to use a Himalayan salt lamp next to my bed, which emits a soft pink glow.
- Use the software f.lux on your computer. If you must use your computer, f.lux is a free software which will change the light on the screen to a more red-wavelength light when the sun sets (it works according to your latitude and longitude, which you enter when you set up the software). Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on with iPhone or iPad, so another option is to….
- Wear blue-blocker glasses at night. Amber-toned glasses filter out those blue wavelengths of light and tell your body, “It’s nighttime! Start making melatonin!”. They’re not super sexy, but try wearing these for an hour before you go to bed — you’ll be surprised at how well they work and you’ll be sleepy and ready for bed in no time. Wear these if you have to use your phone within the hour before bed, and keep them on your nightstand so that if you have to check the time on your phone in the middle of the night, you don’t blast your eyes with blue light and have a hard time falling back asleep.
- Do a meditation before sleep. I like the apps Calm and Headspace for guided meditations. They both have guided meditations specifically designed to do right before sleep. Meditation will help put your mind in a relaxed, parasympathetic state so you are less likely to stay awake fretting about the worries of the day or what you have to do tomorrow.
- Take an Epsom salt bath before bed. The magnesium in Epsom salts helps relax tense muscles, and the act of taking a soothing bath will help relax your mind.
- Take a supplement to help support sleep. While this isn’t an everyday solution, it can be especially helpful for when you are traveling or need a little help falling asleep every once in a while.
* Melatonin-B6/MG (Circadian rhythm support) * V.H.P. (Stress and relaxation formula) Please contact us with any questions or comments.