National Sleep Awareness Month is the perfect time to reassess your bedtime ritual and add in a little extra self-care to your regular routine!
What is “sleep hygiene”?
Simply put, sleep hygiene refers to the habits that help you get a little more rest each night. When we create a comfortable environment and build a routine designed to calm our body and brain, we’re able to fall asleep faster, allowing us to achieve more Slow-Wave Sleep and REM Sleep. Slow-Wave Sleep (or Deep Sleep) is thought to help restore and recuperate the body, while REM Sleep is essential for key brain functions like learning and memory. The more time your body and brain can spend immersed in these states, the more productively they’ll be able to function during the day. Basically: If you want to do your best, you need to get some rest!
How’d you sleep?
If it’s been a long time since you’ve had a solid sleep routine, it can be tough to know what good, regular sleep looks and feels like. Here are some things to consider:
Six to Eight: Healthy adults need somewhere between six to eight hours of sleep, every night. The exact number is a little different for everyone, but if you’re regularly sleeping less than six or waking up feeling groggy and unrested, it’s a sign that something needs to change.
Sleep, Uninterrupted: How often are you waking up each night? And if you wake up, are you able to easily fall back asleep? Waking several times a night and being unable to fall back asleep quickly means you’re not getting the full cycle of slow-wave and REM sleep that your body needs to rest.
Rested and Ready: When you wake up, you should feel ready to take on the day, not ready to crawl back into bed and hit the snooze. Check in with yourself regularly when you get up to see how you’re doing. It’s a great way to tell if you’re getting enough z’s!
There’s no better feeling than waking up refreshed and ready to go, no coffee needed. But figuring out how to achieve that feeling sleep-after-sleep? That can really keep you up at night.
Everyone’s sleep hygiene habits will look a little different, based on your specific needs. However, there are two key categories that experts say we can all spend a little extra time thinking about: environment and habit.
A good sleep environment is one that is comfortable, clean, quiet, and dark. Making sure you’ve got a great mattress, clean sheets, and a quiet, dark space can go a long way towards getting a good night’s sleep.
Once your pillows are fluffed and your noise machine is playing some soothing sounds, it’s time to take a look at your habits. Adjusting habits can be tough, so it’s great to start with changes that can happen on autopilot.
Put down the phone
Getting a notification from a friend can give us a quick and delightful boost of serotonin throughout the day. Unfortunately, constant notifications can also amp up the sympathetic nervous system and make it harder to get to sleep! Most phones have a setting that will automatically silence your notifications after a certain time of day, making it easier to get some distance so you can get some rest.
Light can have a major impact on our ability to regulate sleep habits. The three biggest offenders? Too little sunlight during the day. Too much bright light at night. Too much blue light all of the time.
Sunlight: Sunlight is a key driver of circadian rhythms. Opening the blinds, running outside instead of on the treadmill, or even just spending your lunch break in a nearby park can make it much, much easier to get that rhythm back on track.
Dim the lights: Once the sun starts to go down, it’s time to dim the lights so your body can wind down too. Setting up light timers or using programmable “smart lights” are easy ways to make this process automatic.
Bye, bye blues: Blue light is a particularly cold shade of light emitted by anything with a screen that may decrease melatonin production. If melatonin production is disrupted, our sleep can suffer too! Most screens have a setting that will automatically reduce blue light after dark or can permanently reduce blue light all of the time.
Schedule Some “Me” Time
A regularly scheduled massage can help you carve out precious self-care time while also working on your sleep hygiene. Setting aside an hour or so 2 to 3 times per month to get a massage can help treat stress-related insomnia. By releasing tension from our muscles, our body and brain have an easier time dropping into a deeper, more restful sleep. Plus, the benefits of improved sleep and massage can help complement each other. They both improve circulation, increase energy, and give your immune system a boost.
If you’re interested in making regular massage part of your new and improved sleep hygiene routine, Soothe can help. Our on-demand massages bring a spa-quality experience to you, making it easier than ever to incorporate it into your weekly routine. Plus, we’ve got lots of options designed to cater to your sleep goals and physical needs.
60 minutes: A 60-minute session is perfect for massage table regulars looking for self-care maintenance. This length of time allows your therapist to do a sweep of the whole body to remove day-to-day tension that might crop up between sessions.
90 minutes: The perfect monthly complement to target trouble spots. If you are someone who already sets aside time for a monthly massage, adding a 90-minute session to your routine is perfect for working on regular aches and pains that can crop up over the course of the month from things like repetitive use or poor posture.
120 minutes: If you have regular pain and stiffness or you experience frequent periods of high stress, try starting with two to three 120 minute sessions until you’re able to bring your body back down to a baseline. Once you’re back at your baseline, longer 120-minute sessions can become part of a long-term maintenance routine.
CBD add-on: CBD is a safe and effective way to add extra pain relief to any massage, no matter the length. CBD is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-spasm properties, making recovery from strain even easier. Plus, it has a light sedative effect, perfect for helping you drift off to dreamland.
Stick To It
Once you’ve figured out what works for you, the single most important thing you can do is keep it up! Routine is one of the most important parts of good sleep hygiene. When you have a routine you stick to, it sends signals to your brain that help it release the chemicals you need to get deep, restful sleep. With an improved sleep routine, you’ll wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day!
National Sleep Awareness Month – Soothe
Rest, Relaxation, and REM Cycles: How to get your best night’s sleep and keep it that way.