We’ve all seen how everyday routines benefit children. Nightly sleep routines, for instance, can help cue little brains, letting them know its time to go to bed. Many parents might be wondering how they can sleep better themselves. What if you knew that similar sleep hygiene routines can also help adults feel more rested? Wouldn’t you want to beat morning fatigue if you could?
We can use healthy sleep routines, or ‘sleep hygiene,’ to help ourselves live healthier lives. The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School states that effective sleep hygiene habits can result in more restful sleep. The Monkey Mashup compiled an extensive list of sleeping tips to help our readers learn how to sleep better. Which of these sleep hygiene habits can you start working in to your life?
Early Morning Sleep Hygiene Routines
- Wake up at the same time every morning, even on weekends. Your body will reprogram to be at the right point in your sleep cycles when you wake up. Your body will adjust to getting the same hours of sleep every night. This may also retrain your body to get tired earlier at night (once your body knows how much sleep to expect).
- Experiment a bit with what time you are waking up. Getting up a bit earlier may seem counter-intuitive. However, waking up thirty minutes earlier could mean the difference between waking up in a deep-sleep cycle versus a lighter REM cycle. There are sleep devices that help you track where your sleep phase at different points in the night.
- Take a few huge breaths in the morning, from deep within your belly. Concentrate on waking up, sitting up and putting your feet on the floor. Visualize this before bed as well.
- Let the light in! Natural or simulated light in the morning will help your brain shift into day mode. There are “dawn simulator” alarm clocks that gradually brighten the room. Blue light therapy has also been recommended. Or ask your partner to pull the blinds up when they wake up, or leave them open all night.
- NEVER hit the snooze button. The snooze button trains your brain to stay in “sleep mode” upon waking up. Getting up with the first alarm trains your body to be ready for action at that first sound. Think about it. Do you ever wake up finally rested after hitting the snooze button two or three times? You probably feel just as tired but more rushed and anxious.
- Try experimenting with the alarm sound you use to wake up. Go with a gentler tone or the sound of waves or chimes. (Make sure these are still enough to wake you up!)
- Put your alarm clock in the hall or a nearby room. You’ll have to start moving a little to turn it off. Put a big glass of water near it as well, and gulp it down to start waking up your body. Don’t just lie in bed, which signals your body that its still time to rest.
- Wake up at least two hours before you need to be anywhere. Who wants to wake up dreading a hectic morning before you even step foot out of bed? Prepare a plan for the morning. Avoid news or emails that distract you from the tasks you need to get done.
- Drinking coffee as soon as possible after waking up can get your brain moving quicker. Buy a programmable coffee maker and set it to start right when your alarm goes off.