by Dr. Alexander Wright, Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Sleep hygiene are practices within our control that will promote healthy and quality sleep that directly impacts our physical and emotional health during waking hours. The following practices are recommended as part of achieving optimal sleep hygiene.
- Exercise is a vital component of excellent sleep hygiene. More intense exercise is best to practice in the morning or late afternoon. More relaxing forms of exercise such as yoga can be practiced in the evenings as part of balancing your nervous system functions, which sets us up for increased relaxation and healthy sleep.
- Make your bed and bedroom your sleep temple. Establish a comfortable and calm environment dedicated to sleep and save television and other activities for other places in your home.
- Alcohol is a depressant but negatively impacts healthy sleep when used in excess or right before bedtime. Caffeine and other stimulants, especially in the evening or around bedtime, will promote increased nervous system activity, which can significantly impact sleep as well. Consider nature’s relaxants as a powerful tool for optimal sleep. For example, not many know that oatmeal is a fantastic sleep food. Oats are rich in melatonin, which is a natural substance found in animals, plants, and other living organisms that can greatly benefit sleep. See Full Fathom’s Nutritional blog category for additional foods that promote relaxation, physical and emotional health, and exceptional sleep hygiene.
- Establish good pre-sleep habits. Take a warm bath, practice deep breathing, imagery, and other forms of relaxation (See Full Fathoms blog, Thinking and Relaxation for more detailed information and instruction in relaxation training). A great book or quiet time with a loved one are also good pre-sleep practices.
To learn more about how you can achieve your best night sleep check out Full Fathom Sleep.