Improving your sleep hygiene is essential to getting a better sleep. Here are 5 simple and enjoyable ways to improve your sleep hygiene and turn evenings into a cozy, restful time.
1: Pick your wind-down hour and stick to it
Set a time that you are going to start getting ready for bed. Even if you’re not tired yet, this is intended to get your body in a wind-down routine. If you’re aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep, work backwards. For example, If you have to wake up around 7am, start to get ready for bed around 10 so you can close your eyes by 11.
2: Create bedtime settings on your phone
Pick the apps that are the most tempting to doom scroll at night and give them business hours. We recommend any social media, news, dating apps, and games that can be time sucking and mindless being put away hour before your actual winddown time begins, like 9pm. While you’re building this new habit of turning them off, you’ll notice you still go to open them, but now your phone will kindly remind you that you reached your time limit and hopefully, that little bit of friction will lead you to do something else.
3: Incorporate all your senses into your new routine
- Sound: Start with music. Follow WikiSleep on Spotify and select our Wind Down playlists to begin the routine. These are 1 hour, calming, ambient playlists that can keep you company while you get ready for bed. While you’re on your phone here, pre-select the Wikisleep story from the app that you’ll listen to tonight so you don’t have to spend time on your phone later. This will help reduce the amount of stimulation right before you close your eyes.
- Taste: Eat a kiwi or two, as they have been proven to increase quality of sleep
- Sight: Dim the lights. Whether you are tech savvy and use the IKEA app or Phillips light bulbs, or you have regular old dimmer switches, we highly suggest dimming the lights and turning them to a warmer hue. Installing dimmer switches is a surprisingly easy task, if you’re up for learning something new that will benefit you in the long run.
- Smell: If you’re into diffusers or scented candles, we recommend finding something that you associate with calm. Whether that’s lavender, a woodsy scent, or your favourite scented candle, you’ll start to associate the scent with going to sleep. Find something you like and stick to it.
- Feel: Take 5 minutes to signal your body’s nervous system that it’s time to slow down with these two simple yoga postures: Downward Dog and Child’s pose. The benefit of these postures is that your head is below your heart, signalling the parasympathetic nervous system (ie: the one responsible for rest + digest). Having your forehead pressed to the ground in child's pose can also gently stimulate the pineal gland (responsible for secreting melatonin), another signal for your brain to calm down. Think about how relaxed your dog or cat gets when you gently rub between their eyes. This works for us, too! You can do this right beside your bed so you can crawl right in afterwards, start your pre-selected WikiSleep episode, and close your eyes.
4: Clear the clutter: physically + mental
A big part of getting a good night’s sleep is clearing your mind of stress, to-do’s, and worries. While you are listening to the Wind Down playlist, take 5-10 minutes to make sure that your kitchen is clean for you in the morning, and all clutter is stowed away. It’s been said that the clutter that lives in our home, lives in our mind, so doing a physical clean can help put your mind at ease.
It may also be helpful to keep a small notepad next to your bed for any stray or recurring thoughts. You can do a little brain-dump at the end of the night to get any impending tasks out of your head and onto the paper. This way, your brain doesn’t have to work so hard to remember them. If you’re the type to wake up in the night stressing over to-do’s (hello my fellow entrepreneurs), then you can write them down in the night, again, giving those ideas somewhere else to land instead of ruminating on them in your mind.
5: Stick to your bedtime routine
Commit to doing this for 30 days and see what happens. Making small changes and stacking habits is easier than you think. We’ve all been sold the idea that simply taking a quick fix for something can be the cure all, however, there’s often a payoff or side-effect there. The key to improving your sleep hygiene is being committed to sticking it out for the long run and making these easy and natural adjustments that trigger signals in your body that it’s time to wind down. And if you’re feeling frustrated along the way, or still waking up at night, WikiSleep is here to help deter anxious thoughts and lull you back to sleep.