The connection between sleep and well-being is clear. Getting good sleep makes you feel better physically, and it can also improve concentration and productivity. When combined, the collected habits we engage in that support good rest are known as sleep hygiene. While you might assume that sleep prep is only a nighttime thing, there are plenty of ways to boost your sleep hygiene during the day, too.
If you’re wondering how to improve sleep, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some pro-sleep habits you can adopt by day to help you drift off to dreamland and stay there until you wake feeling rested and refreshed.
Pro-Sleep Habit #1: Wake up at the same time every day.
Following a regular sleep routine is an important component of sleep hygiene. A good sleep routine not only includes creating a soothing bedtime routine with a set bedtime, but also a consistent wake-up time. This helps your internal biological clock, known as a circadian rhythm, adjust the hormone levels in your body that are associated with wakefulness and sleep.
Pro-Sleep Habit #2: Get some morning sunshine.
Exposure to sunlight or even bright light in the morning is another way to help you sleep better at night, according to research. Sunlight (or a light therapy lamp) signals to your internal circadian clock that it’s time to start your day. Opening curtains or blinds upon waking or taking a morning or midday walk are great ways to get your daily dose of light that can pay off in a better night’s sleep.
Pro-Sleep Habit #3: Get regular exercise earlier in the day.
Depending on the weather where you live, you can combine your daily sunlight fix with outdoor exercise to encourage better sleep. According to Hopkins Medicine, regular exercise can not only help you fall asleep faster, but it can also help you sleep better overall. Be sure to time workouts for earlier in the day, because exercise can energize some people and keep them awake at bedtime.
Pro-Sleep Habit #4: Nap Strategically.
Like light exposure and exercise, napping is another habit that depends on timing. Naps are a great way to catch up on missed sleep. But understanding when and how long to nap is important to keep from interfering with your nighttime rest. According to the Mayo Clinic, a sleep-friendly nap should last no longer than 10-20 minutes and should be timed as early in the day as possible to keep from interfering with your ability to fall asleep at bedtime.
Pro-Sleep Habit #5: Eat lighter meals and snacks at night.
Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and lean protein is great for everyone’s overall health. Eating a lighter dinner and limiting snacking can also help you sleep better at night. Foods that are high in fat, including fried foods, can take longer to digest, which can negatively affect sleep. If you must snack after dinner, a small serving of complex carbohydrates like oatmeal or foods high in the sleep-friendly hormone melatonin such as tart cherries are solid sleep-friendly choices.