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10 tips to improve your sleep hygiene

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

Sleep hygiene involves practices you can incorporate into your daily life order to have "clean" sleep. Sleep is important for physical recovery, along with mental functioning so that you can perform at your best during every run.

Here are 10 things you can do to get better sleep:

1. Create a consistent wake and sleep routine. This trains your brain to be tired at a specific time at night, which will help you fall asleep. It will also teach your brain to be alert when you wake up in the morning.

2. Start your sleep routine 1 hour before bedtime. This trains your body and brain to relax and know that it is going to be time to sleep soon.

3. Make sure to use your bedroom for sleeping and intimacy only. If you watch tv, work, spend time on your phone or social media accounts in your bedroom, you are training your brain to be awake and alert in that space.

4. Create a relaxing environment. Make sure the room is dark, cool, clean, and whatever else you personally find relaxing.

5. Avoid alcohol and caffeine at least 4 hours before bed. Alcohol helps you fall asleep quickly, but prevents you from getting deep sleep during the night. Caffeine is a stimulant that stays in your system for about 4 hours, so can prevent you from falling asleep or getting quality sleep.

6. Avoid heavy meals and spicy foods before bed. Eating heavy meals before bedtime increases your metabolism and can confuse your body into thinking that you will be doing heavy activity in the future rather than resting.

7. Avoid stimulation before bed. This means putting the phones away, set work aside, turn off the tv, set arguments/other stressors aside, and avoid any other activities that are stimulating for you.

8. Get exercise during the day. This can help you feel more tired at nighttime!

9. Avoid daytime napping. Napping can be really confusing for your brain because it doesn't know when to be sleepy or alert. If you do need a nap, keep it under 20 minutes so that you do not go into the deep cycles of sleep. Going into deep sleep during they day can prevent you from falling asleep quickly at night.

10. If you are unable to sleep after 20 minutes of lying in bed, get up and move to a different room. Do something relaxing - read a book, listen to relaxing music, do some guided imagery, meditate, etc. By getting out of your bedroom, you are training your brain to only feel tired while in this space rather than anxious, alert, etc.

I hope these tips help you get better sleep!

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