Improving Your Sleep Habits

Do you find it challenging to get a good night’s sleep? That may be because of what you do during the day.
What you do during the day can have a big affect on how you sleep at night. Unhealthy habits can lead to tossing and turning instead of sound sleeping each night. However, there are tips you can practice during the day and at night so you can experience less trouble falling and staying asleep.
These methods, also known as sleep hygiene, promote healthy daytime habits that not only help you sleep better, but also boost your health and improve your mental state.
In the morning, attempt to get up at the same time every day. Setting a schedule for waking up can help your body get into a natural rhythm, making you feel much more energized after a night of sleep. In turn, setting a time to go to sleep every night is just as important.
During the day, exercise regularly by taking walks, practicing yoga, doing cardio, or lifting weights. Exercise has powerful sleep benefits, as well as the ability to improve symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea. After exercising, be sure to nourish your body with the protein and nutrients to stay energized during the day. If you take a nap during the day, limit your rest to 20 minutes rather than an hour or two, otherwise you’ll have a harder time falling sleep later.
At night, be mindful of what you eat and drink. Limit your caffeine intake by avoiding coffee, energy drinks, and caffeinated teas after dinner. If you find yourself hungry after dinner, be sure to choose foods that are low in sugar, acid, and spice, as these foods can cause heartburn and stomach problems in the night.
An hour before bed, you should refrain from spending time on your phone, laptop, or watching TV. The blue light that comes from these devices can be harmful to your eyes by restraining your production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep cycle. On top of that, make sure your bedroom is the optimal environment for a good night’s sleep. Keep your room at a cooler temperature to avoid overheating during the night, and drown out distracting noise from outside by using a fan or white noise device. Above all else, make sure your bed is clean and comfortable, and think about purchasing supportive pillows and foam toppers if not.
During this last hour before bed, practice stretching and doing yoga poses to relax your body and calm your nervous system. Some great poses include Child’s Pose, Pranayama, Sleeping Swan, Lizard Pose, and Happy Baby. These poses can all be done on the floor of your bedroom, and can help you sleep more deeply once you’re asleep.
While attempting to fall asleep, practice deep breathing and meditation in order to calm your mind and clear your thoughts. Be mindful of your breath by focusing your attention to the movement and air related to your breathing. Bring your attention to sensations in your body, starting in your feet and moving upward until you reach the muscles in your face.
Practicing these tips from the moment you wake up, throughout the day, to the moment you fall asleep, will allow you to sleep better at night and feel more energized when you wake up. Maintaining good sleep hygiene and a healthy sleep schedule will lead to a healthier mind and body.
The Living Well is a Community blog that explores a curated selection of health and wellness tips, recipes, DIY crafts, and personal stories from our community of instructors and students. Want to share your own? Email us at to submit your blog post.