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Sleep Hygiene in Your Daily Routine

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Your body craves predictability. By creating a sleep-friendly routine for yourself each day, you can teach your body to recognize when it’s time for sleep. (See the rules for sleeping at the bottom of this page.)

Good sleep hygiene means preparing for sleep the whole day. By adjusting the way you approach all that you do, you can ensure a better night’s sleep for yourself.

Sleep Hygiene in the Morning

Make your bed as soon as you get up in the morning.

By all means have your cup of coffee (or two), but if you feel tired from lack of sleep, try these other means of rousing yourself:

Using a brush made of natural bristles, give yourself a dry brush all over your body. Use long strokes in the direction of your heart. Dry brushing improves circulation to your skin and will make you feel more alert.

Take a shower, turning the water to cold for a few seconds just before you turn it off.

If you need an extra pick-up, add a few drops of jasmine, rosemary, grapefruit, or eucalyptus essential oil to a tissue and inhale.

If you tend to crash in the afternoons with exhaustion, then try to get as much work done in the morning as you can.

Put off non-essential tasks such as personal email until the time of day when you know your energy levels will be low.

Do everything in as calm and unhurried a way as you can.

If you are planning to have a potentially stressful conversation with a co-worker, try to have it in the morning or early afternoon — not just before you go home.

Sleep Hygiene in Your Daily Routine

Sleep Hygiene in the Afternoon

Stop drinking caffeinated beverages. If you need some kind of stimulant, drink orange juice or peppermint tea instead.

Some sleep experts caution against taking naps, but I have always found them useful, so long as they are limited to about 15 minutes.

There is no worse feeling than being too tired to sleep — a nap can be a calming, energy boost in the afternoon and set you up well for sleep at night.

Before you leave work, make a list of unfinished tasks that you need to complete the next day and leave it on your desk. This way you won’t be continually listing them to yourself in the evening.

Always make time for exercise in your routine. If you don’t have time or can’t afford to join a gym, then try walking.

Walking for just 30 minutes after work can help to clear your mind and release any physical tension you may have built up over the day.

Tip: Don’t exercise with a co-worker — you will end up gossiping about work! Also, avoid exercising too close to bedtime.

Sleep Hygiene in the Evening

If you’ve brought work home or have to use the computer for whatever reason, try to do it as soon as you get home, perhaps while dinner is on the stove (but don’t burn that stew!).

Eat your dinner slowly and appreciatively. This can be difficult if you live alone, but try to treat this as your time to unwind and enjoy. Avoid drinking alcohol.

Ideally, you should not be at the computer or watch TV at all after you eat.

If you are a news junkie, get your fix by reading the morning paper or listening to the radio on the way in to work.

If you absolutely must watch TV, turn the volume to low and limit yourself to an hour. Then turn it off and cover the screen with a blanket.

Keep the lighting in your home low — use shaded table lamps rather than overhead lights.

The evening is an excellent time to try out the various approaches outlined in the home remedies section of this site — meditation, self massage, hydrotherapy, and so on.

Take a warm bath with your favorite blend of sleep-inducing essential oils. Do some stretching.

Enjoy a cup of chamomile or lavender tea, though don’t drink too much just before getting into bed, as you may have to go to the bathroom.

4 Rules For Sleeping

1. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. Many people sleep at different times during the weekend, but try not to get into this habit.

2. Don’t go to bed before you are sleepy. Read a book or listen to quiet, relaxing music.

3. If in the middle of the night you wake up and are unable to get to sleep again, get up and do something (outside of your bedroom). Do some yoga, meditate, or read something dull. If something is on your mind, write it down to get it out of your system.

4. Try not to get anxious or exasperated if you can’t sleep. It’s an understandable reaction, but it will not help matters. Instead, practice deep breathing, and tell yourself it’s okay to have some trouble getting to sleep.