A healthy sleep hygiene means that you maintain a healthy sleep cycle of regular bedtime and wake up patterns. As adults we should maintain about 7-8 hours of sleep each night. It is important that those hours include deep sleep and that we are not tossing and turning all night long. There are several tips that we can follow to help ensure we maintain a healthily sleep hygiene.

Regular sleep hygiene habits are important to our daily lives so that we can perform daily functions to the best of our abilities. There are physical factors, psychological factors, and medications that can affect ones sleep habits. If any of these are the case for you, consult your physician as they will be able to share some advice and options that are available for you. However, it’s never too late to try the tips outlined below.

1. Keep a Sleep Schedule

To help regulate your body’s internal clock, it is best if you try to stick to the same bedtime and wake up time each day, even on the weekends. Once we your body is accustom to this sleep cycle, you will feel much more alert and active throughout the day with less fatigue. It is hard to maintain a restful sleep schedule if you are going to bed at different times each day and waking up at different times each morning. Stay consistent.

2. Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol and Nicotine

It is also highly important that you avoid drinks with caffeine such as coffee and soft drinks roughly 4 to 6 hours before your bedtime. The same goes for smokers and drinkers. Alcohol may actually make you sleep for a couple of hours, but it will stimulate you after a while making it more difficult to stay asleep. It is best to avoid these items late in the evening to ensure you get the sleep you need.

3. Avoid Heavy Meals

Do everything you can to eat your dinner as early as possible and eat your last snack at least two hours before bedtime. This will help avoid the nighttime stomach problems people tend to have after a heavy meal. It might even be a good idea to have lighter meals in the evening. Give yourself some time to digest your food prior to trying to relax for bedtime.

4. Wind Down and Relax

One thing that will really help many of you is to find a nice calming activity to do before you go to bed. A lot of people tend to watch TV, read the news, finish work items, and think about everything they need to accomplish the next day. The best way to ensure you get a good night’s rest is to end the night with a stress-free calming activity, such as taking a bath, reading, meditating, or listening to soothing music. Do something that will put your mind at ease and allow your body to relax.

5. Do Not Watch the Clock

One of the worst things you can do when trying to fall asleep as you first lay down or if you wake up in the middle of the night is to stare at the clock. This induces stress making it even more difficult to fall asleep. Do not worry about how much sleep you will get, turn the clock around or move your phone across the room. Do something suggested in item no. 4 to calm down and relax. If you wake up and are not able to go back to sleep in 20 minutes you may want to get up and move to another room or try reading for a few minutes, take a hot bad, meditate, do something to relax your mind.

6. Exercise Daily

Another thing that will help ensure you get a good night’s rest is exercise. Daily exercise is highly important for sleep and other areas of your health. Make sure your workouts are completed at least 3 hours prior to your bedtime to ensure it promotes the proper rest you need. There is a link between exercise and body temperate regulation that helps promote sleep as well as the exposure to sunlight.

7. Comfortable Mattress

It is very important that you have a comfortable place to sleep. If your mattress or mattress topper is not comfortable, you will not be able to stay asleep at night. There are ways to extend the life of your mattress, one way is to flip the mattress every couple of months. You should always clean your mattress and mattress topper every couple of months to ensure that you stay allergy free. By enjoying where you sleep you will be that much closer to getting a peaceful night’s rest.

These seven tips will help you maintain a healthy ‘sleep hygiene’. Maintaining healthy sleep habits will ensure you are alert and focused during the day keeping you at your best.