Sleep Hygiene Starts In The Daytime
Going to bed at a consistent time, keeping your bedroom dark and cool, and avoiding electronic light before bed are helpful practices. They all fit into "sleep hygiene" – a set of habits recommended by doctors to ward off insomnia.
That’s all well and good, but what many people don’t realize is that preparing for a good night’s sleep begins long before bedtime. The way you treat your body from the moment you wake up affects the quality of rest you will enjoy later on. If you’re sleeping on a properly fitted mattress and still feel like you’re not getting enough shut-eye, pay close attention to your daily routine. From your diet to your exercise schedule, there a variety of choices you can make day to day that will improve your sleep.
First and foremost, get your workout in. 30-45 minutes of moderate exercise per day is all you need for good health. It doesn’t have to be all at once, either – a few brisk walks throughout the day works fine. Whatever your activity of choice is, being physically active on a daily basis is very likely to help you sleep better.
However, keep in mind that results will not be instantaneous. One study showed that in the short term, sleep affects exercise more than the other way around, in that sleeping poorly will make it more difficult to work out the next day. Measurable improvements in insomnia typically show up four months into an exercise schedule, but don’t be discouraged – you’ll see a host of other benefits in the meantime!
If you regularly experience problems with sleep, there’s a good chance you rely on caffeine to power you through the day. There’s nothing wrong with a cup or two, but drinking coffee fewer than four to six hours before bedtime spells bad news for sleep. Caffeine stays in your system for about that long, so switch to low or no-caffeine beverages in the late afternoon.
While you’re riding that caffeine buzz in the morning, get your to-do list sorted. Stress is one of the most significant barriers to healthy sleep, and leaving trying tasks for the evening is a sure-fire way to keep your brain buzzing through the night. Plus, studies show that willpower is at its peak earlier in the day, so that’s the best time to call your mother-in-law or do your taxes.
Lastly, manage your nap schedule. A short daytime snooze is perfectly healthy (and a cultural institution in some places – see our previous blog), but a nap after 4pm, or one that lasts longer than 30 minutes, can affect your quality of sleep at night.
If all else fails, pop into one of our stores for a complimentary mattress assessment. Eliminating sleep problems is one of our daily habits at Regal.