National sleep awareness week falls in the month of March, so there’s no better time to discuss the important topic of sleep hygiene.

After just a week of too little sleep, more than 700 genetic changes can occur within the body. WHAT!?! This can result in an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and depression.

Sleep deprivation can often be blamed on poor sleep hygiene. Learning and practicing good sleep habit’s is essential for our health and well-being. While practicing good sleep hygiene seems like common sense, living them out takes commitment and planning.

Here are some tips to help improve your sleep:

Personal Habits

  • Set yourself a bedtime and a waking time. This is important to help set your body clock.
  • Avoid napping in the late afternoon as this can throw your bedtime off.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine in the evening. These can result in a restless night’s sleep.
  • Try and do at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. This will help you fall asleep easier, as well as sleep deeper.
  • Get out in the sun – even in winter! Research has shown that the sun helps regulate your normal circadian rhythm.

Environmental factors

  • Try to keep your room cool and dark
  • Wear comfortable clothing
  • Use comfortable bedding
  • A quiet bedroom is helpful.
  • Keep work and TV out of the bedroom.

Bedtime Routine

  • Stop using all electronics one hour before you go to bed.
  • Don’t eat one hour before you go to bed.
  • Take part in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga or meditation.
  • Spend 10-15 minutes writing down things that worry you so you don’t take them to bed with you.
  • Enjoy a warm bath or read a non-electronic book or magazine to help you relax.

Practicing good sleep hygiene can make you more productive, keep you healthy and improve your mood. Use these tips and tricks to help you have a good nights sleep!