Sleep: You can do it better. Here are six tips explaining how.

If you're an insomniac or just generally an individual that has a hard time falling asleep, you know all-too-well the never-ending struggle of trying - but failing - to go to bed!

Being unable to sleep can be frustrating and can often lead to a major loss in productivity and even incur a higher predisposition to depression. Sleep problems can sometimes be the result of temporary stress in your life, a demanding work schedule, or maybe even your genetics, but no matter the reason, poor sleep hygiene can make the problem exponentially worse.

Sleep hygiene is a term used to describe an individual's habits before bed, and practising good sleep hygiene is essential to getting a good night's rest. Here are seven tips on how to improve your sleep hygiene:

Go to bed at a regular time

This may seem obvious, but it's a crucial step that many people with sleep issues don't take. If it's at all possible, you should go to bed around ‘the same time every day’. Even if you can't fall asleep, getting used to attempting to go to bed at the same time every day can be a great way to help fix your sleep hygiene.

When you go to sleep at sporadic times, your circadian rhythm gets confused, making it all the more likely that you'll have a significantly harder time getting to sleep on time the next day.

Make sure your room is comfortable

This means much more than just making sure your pillows are fluffed, and your bed doesn't have any springs sticking out of it. The temperature, noises inside and outside of the room, the dog laying at your feet - these factors often go unnoticed by those with poor sleep hygiene.

Make sure your room is at a comfortable temperature for you and ensure that any distracting noises or animals aren't going to hamper your ability to fall asleep. Consider purchasing some form of white noise machine or even a humidifier to help drown out any noise.

Dim your screens

Your brain uses a lot of information to determine whether or not it's daytime, and light is one of them. Screens at high brightness can disrupt your body's natural production of melatonin, a hormone strongly associated with sleep.

Turn the brightness down on your phone or computer monitor in the hours leading up to bed to slowly get your brain to produce sleep-inducing melatonin.

Avoid highly stimulating activities near bedtime

Speaking of screens, it's best to avoid them within a half-hour to an hour before bed. Highly stimulating activities such as browsing the internet, watching TV, or any sort of physical exercise before bed can keep you from falling asleep.

Try your best to avoid highly stimulating activity and consider a more relaxing activity such as reading in the half-hour to an hour before bed.

Cut out caffeine entirely

You may think that caffeine is safe as long as you had it in the morning, but that's only partially true. Caffeine has a half-life of around six hours, more or less depending on the individual. This means that every six hours the amount of caffeine in your system is halved.

So, the two cups of coffee you had after you got out of bed equates to almost a half a cup in the hours leading up to bedtime. If you really want to improve your sleep hygiene, it might be best to cut out caffeine entirely.

Be active during the day

Exercise during the day is a great way to get your mind and body tired enough to go to sleep at night. If you don't get a lot of physical activity, you tend to be more restless and have more energy at night. Try exercising or getting some form of physical activity every day.

Being active during the day also means not taking any naps - or at the very least limiting them. Napping during the day can prevent you from falling asleep at night as it partially satisfies your body's need for sleep.

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We hope you’ve found this most recent Citrus article helpful and informative. There’s huge value in sorting your sleep; we hope you find some of the pointers here relevant to you.

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