With the distractions and stress of everyday life, you may struggle to achieve the personal goals you set, particularly the resolutions you make to yourself. Some habits, however, like improving your sleep hygiene can have a cascading effect on your other routines. These behaviors are called keystone habits, and when you get a good night’s rest other bad habits do have a tendency to melt away. But you may be wondering, “why is sleep so important?”
There are numerous answers, perhaps none more important than how it affects other behaviors. Successfully establishing an improved sleep routine is considered a keystone habit because it is an easily applicable, yet fundamental, routine that indirectly supports the establishment of other habits. Exercise and journaling are other classic keystone habits.
Whether you are struggling to keep a sleep-related New Year’s resolution or just focusing on self-improvement, sleep is key. It can improve the quality of your day and leave you feeling more confident in whatever you are trying to tackle. Here are a few practical steps you can take toward realizing your target.
- Improve the quality of your mattress
- Optimize your sleep environment
- Design your personal bedtime ritual
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and THC two hours before bed.
- Avoid screen time for one hour before bed.
Upgrade Your Mattress Game
Investing in a new mattress is one of the most straightforward steps you can take to improve your overall sleep quality and create a better sleep environment in your home. Mattresses from established and affordable companies such as Nectar Sleep enhance the quality of your rest by promoting a cool sleep environment and providing support where you need it. This allows you to spend more time in a deeper, more restorative, sleep.
Cool. Dark. Quite.
The ideal sleep setting is cool, dark, and quiet. Your bedroom should be between 60º and 67º Fahrenheit. Set the mood by turning the lights off — including turning off any monitors or covering routers — so nothing disrupts your sleep. And create a little white noise with a ceiling fan or try investing in a white or pink-noise machine, or stick to earplugs if that’s what you prefer. If you live in the city and have pesky ambient light from the street you can also consider blackout shades.
Once you begin to improve your sleep environment and habits, you could start to notice a positive effect on your overall clarity and confidence. Creating and sticking to a new routine is crucial to maintaining this momentum and progress.
Creating and Mastering Your Sleep Routine
So you’ve upgraded your mattress and your sleep environment. Then what? Next is your sleep routine. A personal ritual. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Step 1: Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and THC for as many as six hours before bed to maximize sleep quality. Too much stimulation from caffeine or a nightcap can give you feelings of agitation, restlessness, and worsen existing sleeping disorders. Consuming these late in the afternoon or too close to bedtime can adversely affect one’s sleep.
Step 2: Power down your devices and avoid screen time for at least one hour before bed. Texting, scrolling, DM’ing, or watching TV until you turn out the lights is not doing your sleep any favors. Experts say the impact of blue light from screens may reduce the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. For those people whose jobs are inextricably linked to their phones and tablets, it can be difficult to truly relax and get yourself in the mood for slumber if you keep checking your phone for emails and messages and may trigger stress and anxious thoughts. Power down in those hours before bed to feel powerful in the morning.
Step 3: Meditate or do some bedtime stretches. This allows your body and mind to wind down and enter a place of relaxation. It’s a time to clear the mind of all the thoughts and problems of the workday and everyday life. Use this time to stretch any aching muscles and use a breathing technique to calm tension points in your body.
Step 4: Get comfortable and let go. Let go of the day’s work and focus on your comfortable position and attaining deep, peaceful sleep.
Better sleep is a positive health and hygiene habit that improves your quality of life and gives you the energy and focus you need. Getting relaxing, high-quality rest rewards you for sticking through your resolution and helping your brain associate the behavior with positive outcomes and feelings. As you strive to continue adhering to your resolutions, why not begin associating your dedication with rewards now? Some self-care rewards for nailing your sleep routine could include making yourself a dream breakfast, investing in a new pajama set, or purchasing some sleep essential oils to really take the sleep game to a whole new level.