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Sleep Hygiene Tips

Sleep is often the most neglected form of self-care. Whenever a tight deadline or new, binge-worthy TV show comes around, sleep is the first thing to be sacrificed. Yet everyone constantly complains about the sleep deprivation that plagues them- and for good reason, too, since about 1 in 3 adults are not getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to increased anxiety, increased risk for chronic diseases, the exacerbation of psychiatric symptoms, and more. A good night’s sleep is valuable to everyone, so here are some tips to help you get some proper shut-eye: 

1. Have a Bedtime Routine

When you do the same routine every day before going to sleep, your body eventually learns to associate the routine with sleep. Thus, your body will prepare to go to sleep once it recognizes your bedtime routine. Some ideas for a relaxing bedtime routine include journaling and dimming the lights. Journaling will help you calm down any racing thoughts, while dimming the lights will signal your brain to release melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. Remember to put away your devices about an hour before sleeping as well to prevent them from suppressing the production of melatonin.

2. Don’t Nap For Too Long

While you might feel great after that three hour nap you took, your body will not be thanking you after the sun goes down. Napping for too long during the day can decrease your ability to sleep at night. The Mayo Clinic recommends napping for no more than an hour a day.

3. Sleep in 90-Minute Intervals

Biopsychologists exploring the sleep cycle suggest that sleeping in intervals of 90 minutes might promote better sleep and increased feelings of restfulness. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is the deepest stage of the sleep cycle that your body repeats while you are asleep and lasts for approximately 90 minutes each time. Interrupting REM sleep makes your body compensate by expending more energy, making you feel more tired. Ninety-minute sleep intervals (e.g. 90 minutes, 3 hours, 6 hours, etc.) aim to allow you to complete your final sleep cycle before waking up. Be sure to add a roughly 30 minute buffer period at the beginning to let yourself actually fall asleep and enter the sleep cycle.

4. Make Your Bed Sleep-Only

As comfortable as it may be to sit on your bed and study, it is not conducive to high-quality sleep. Just like how tip #1 associates sleep with a routine, using your bed for non-sleep activities can associate the bed with those activities. When you go to sleep, you will be reminded of the number of stressors connected to those activities, and it will become difficult to unwind. By making your bed a sleep-only place, you can feel more safe and content with your sleep quality.

5. Keep a Sleep Journal

Recording your sleeping habits and quality of sleep in a journal is the ultimate first step to fixing your sleep schedule. A sleep journal can help you pinpoint the exact problems with your sleep schedule. Are you staying up late because you’ve been procrastinating on a history assignment? Do you have trouble staying asleep throughout the night? Regardless of what your issue is, a sleep journal is a way to transfer the subjective feelings of contentedness and fatigue to a more tangible documentation system that you can reference to analyze your sleep patterns and measure your improvement.

Be sure to leave a comment below if any of these tips have worked for you! Wishing you a good night with sweet dreams 😴


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