This is a topic I came across after the birth of our second child. With two children under the age of two, sleep has become a precious commodity in our household. Not only is the quantity of sleep affected, but the quality of sleep has also taken quite a setback.
Making the most of the precious few hours of sleep you finally get after a long day is important. This is where proper sleep hygiene techniques can help. Sleep hygiene is a collection of practices that can help you get a full night’s sleep and help you achieve full day alertness. Proper sleep hygiene is important for both your physical and mental well being, as this video describes:
Here are a few simple sleep hygiene techniques to get you started:
Remove all sources of light from your room. Whether it is the alarm clock, or the faint glow of a cell phone charger, random sources of light can disturb your circadian rhythm. I personally tend to use a sleeping mask which I find very beneficial.
If your kids are noisy at night like ours, investing in a good pair of earplugs can do wonders for your sleep. Ear plugs are effective enough to tune out the random noises at night, but still allow you to hear your alarm in the morning. I recommend ear putty ear plugs, as they stay flush with the ear and produce a nice seal.
Keep the room slightly cool; our bodies tend to cool while we sleep. Keeping the temperature slightly lower at night can help you achieve deeper sleep faster.
Keep daytime naps short. If you are fortunate enough to take a break mid-day, try to keep those naps to under 30 minutes. Naps cannnot make up for lost sleep, but a short nap can improve mood, performance and alertness.
Avoid stimulants close to bedtime. Caffeine should generally be avoided 8 to 12 hours before bedtime, as it has a half-life of 5-6 hours!
Exercising during the day is a great way to help promote good sleep during the night. As little as 10 minutes of moderate exercise can help you sleep better.
Avoid foods that can disrupt your sleep. Foods high in fat, fried foods, spicy meals or carbonated beverages can cause indigestion and can keep you up at night.