If you’re always tired, feeling moody, and can’t seem to focus, it might be time to clean up your sleep habits. “Sleep hygiene” refers to the routines you keep during your waking hours that impact your level of sleep quality. Yes, it’s not just actions you take in the moments immediately before bedtime – good sleep hygiene starts from the moment you wake up in the morning.
- Rise and shine. Try to wake up at the same time every day (yes – groan – even on weekends). The consistent schedule will help regulate your internal clock, making it easier for you to fall asleep, and (eventually) easier for you to wake up.
- Watch caffeine intake. If you’re a caffeine-drinker, take note of its effects on you and regulate your intake accordingly. You might need to drink less, or you might just need to limit your intake to the morning hours. Although some people can have a shot of espresso after dinner and still sleep like a baby, so find what works for you!
- Move your body. In addition to helping you feel and look your best, exercise has been proven to help you fall asleep more quickly and to improve sleep quality. However, be mindful of the time of day you exercise – some people find a late-day workout to be too stimulating.
- Skip the nap. Sleeping during the day isn’t going to fix an issue caused by not sleeping well at night, and may even make it worse. Daytime napping can actually make it harder for you to fall asleep later, and can increase the likelihood that you’ll wake during the night.
- Stick to a bedtime. Just like waking up at the same time every day, going to bed at the same time every night helps regulate your body clock.
- Establish a routine. A relaxing routine is a nice way to end the day, but it’s also an important subliminal signal to your body that it’s time to shut down for the night. It doesn’t have to be elaborate – meditation or music, a book or a bath, whatever works for you.
- Shut down the electronics. Scrolling your smartphone before bed doesn’t only stimulate your brain (with news, social media, work emails, etc.), the screen also emits a wavelength of light that can reduce your body’s melatonin (sleep hormone) levels.
- Keep it comfortable. Make sure your mattress and bedding meet your particular comfort standards, and keep your bedroom cool (under 67°F), dark, and quiet.
- Get enough sleep. “Enough sleep” means something different to each individual body and its specific needs, but most people do best with about 7-8 hours.
Tracking Your Sleep
Have you tightened up your sleep habits, but yet you’re still feeling groggy and low-energy during the day? A sleep tracker can be a valuable tool to help you gain insight into exactly how much sleep you’re (not) getting, giving you a clearer picture of your particular sleep issues and allowing you to address them through specific lifestyle changes.
These unobtrusive devices come in a variety of styles, from wearables to completely contactless models. Find the one that’s right for you:
Wearable: Fitbit Sense Smartwatch
This device tracks your nightly time in light, deep and REM sleep, and gives you a daily Sleep Score to help you better understand your sleep quality each night. The companion app suggests adjustments to your daily habits to help you improve your overall sleep hygiene. And by day, it’s a premium smartwatch that monitors a variety of health metrics in addition to standard smartwatch features like Bluetooth calling, text messaging, app notifications, and more.
Under-Mattress Pad: Withings Sleep Tracking Mat
A good option for people who find a wearable to be uncomfortable during sleep, this flexible pad slips underneath your mattress (yes, the whole mattress, not just the top sheet) to collect data like heart rate, snoring, sleep cycles, breathing, wake times, and more. Connect it to other smart devices in your home and it can even adjust your environment to optimize temperature and light for better sleep.
Contactless Sleep Tracker: Sleepscore Max Sleep Tracker
A contactless device is able to monitor your sleep via a sensor placed near your bed, such as on a bedside table or nearby dresser. This model accurately measures the quality and quantity of your sleep, delivering personalized insights and actionable advice on how to improve your sleep habits.
A better night’s sleep is within your reach! With a few lifestyle changes, some conscientious new habits, and a helping hand from device-driven data, you can achieve the rest you’ve always dreamed of.