Sleep hygiene consists of a variety of different practices necessary for normal, quality nighttime sleep and full daytime alertness. Without proper sleep hygiene, you could be harming your body’s natural ability to fall and stay asleep on its own. Additionally, sleepless nights can lead to long term health consequences, such as insomnia.
In order to get a good night’s rest each and every night, it is essential that you follow the Seven Sleep Steps that will leave you feeling refreshed and energized each morning.
- Avoid napping during the day.While naps may be tempting, especially on the weekends, they actually disturb the normal pattern of sleep and wakefulness. If you feel yourself wanting to doze off, lace up your tennis shoes and go for a walk. The physical activity and natural vitamin D from the sun will wake you up in no time.
- Switch to all-natural soaps and lotions. The various petrochemicals in the products that we use on our skin have detrimental effects on hormone levels, most profoundly with estrogen. An increase in estrogen levels can cause insomnia in both women and men.
- Balance your hormones. Sex hormones are powerful sleep agents when levels are optimal. Progesterone, estrogen and testosterone can all help improve your sleep quality by reducing anxiety, alleviating hot flashes and night sweats, and helping with sleep apnea.
- Supplement with adequate levels of desiccated thyroid. You have to have good thyroid activity in your brain in order for it to enter all stages of sleep, including REM. If you are still waking up tired in the mornings, your body may not be entering REM sleep and you may need your thyroid levels adjusted.
- Control your portions. Large meals close to bedtime can get in the way of a good night’s sleep. Remember to keep dinner one of your smaller meals of the day, and avoid chocolate afterwards. Chocolate contains caffeine, which can disrupt sleep.
- Establish a bedtime routine. Following the same schedule each night prepares your body for what’s to come next: sleep. Just like a child needs a strict bedtime routine, it’s important that adults follow the same advice. Dim the lights, wash your face, brush your teeth, turn off all electronics and turn down the air. You’ll be surprised at how creating a routine can help prepare your body for sleep.
- Optimize your bedtime vitamin routine. Magnesium is a key mineral that helps ease muscle tension, while also promoting nerve health and relaxation. Because it’s so easily depleted through stress and exercise, you want to make sure you’re supplementing with at least 600 mg of magnesium citrate or glycinate daily. Additionally, melatonin is the natural sleep hormone that supports a restful night’s sleep without leaving you groggy the next morning. Melatonin is available at Hotze Pharmacy in a sublingual prescription tablet that dissolves under the tongue, as well as over-the-counter through Hotze Vitamins, and is best taken 30 minutes before bedtime.