5 Essential Sleep Hygiene Habits For A Restful Night, From Experts
When it comes to sleep, quality is just as important as quantity. Even if you consistently clock seven to eight hours in bed every night, if you spend most of those hours tossing and turning, chances are you'll still wake up feeling groggy. Ensuring high-quality sleep starts the night before. Here, experts share five nighttime habits that'll help improve your sleep hygiene and promote deeper, more restorative sleep:
1. Take a magnesium supplement.*
Magnesium is a powerhouse mineral that can help, among many other things, promote relaxation and get the body and mind ready for bed.*
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"I've been experimenting with taking magnesium for better, more restful sleep for years," allergist and immunologist Heather Moday, M.D., previously wrote on mbg. "It assists calcium and potassium in muscle relaxation,* which you need for deep sleep. In addition, it inhibits the release of certain stress hormones like adrenaline and can help regulate your cortisol response."*
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2. Create a soothing bedtime routine.
"We cannot simply turn a switch from our frenetic, information-packed, action-oriented days to sleep," sleep researcher and co-author of Sleep for Success! Rebecca Robbins, Ph.D., tells mbg. "Instead, sleep is actually a process and does take time. Prepare your body and brain for rest by prioritizing relaxing activities in the 30 minutes before bed."
To ease into rest, Robbins recommends avoiding the news or other stressful programming before bed. Instead, use that time for soothing activities like your skin care routine, reading or journaling, or meditating.
3. No phones in the bedroom.
For a simple but effective hack, holistic psychiatrist Ellen Vora, M.D., recommends putting the phone down. "My No. 1 tip is to get the phone out of the bedroom," she says. "Set up the charger somewhere else in your home, and never bring the phone into the bed with you." This way, you aren't sucked into endless scrolling—and you're not exposing your eyes to blue light right before bed.
4. Avoid alcohol before bed.
Numerous studies have found that substances of basically any kind will get in the way of quality sleep. If you're one to have a drink before bed on a regular basis, you might want to reconsider. "Avoiding smoking and alcohol consumption immediately before bedtime is highly recommended," notes Girardin Jean-Louis, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and public health at NYU.
5. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
And lastly, Robbins adds, you want to be sure to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, aka falling asleep and waking at approximately the same time daily. Folks who do that, she says, "are able to fall asleep faster and into deeper sleep than those who maintain a yo-yo schedule with different sleep and wake-up times across a typical week."
Sleep is one of the more important factors of our overall health and well-being. If we haven't been getting good sleep, we don't feel energized, our immunity is weakened, and, in short, our bodies don't function optimally. Proper sleep hygiene goes a long way toward ensuring we get the most out of every night's sleep, so we can get the most out of every day.