Sleep Hygiene

A good night’s sleep is rejuvenating and an essential piece of any self-care routine. Get the rest you and your body deserve by unplugging electronics, eating the right foods, and listening to a soothing audio sleep aid or guided meditation. And it’s not the duration of sleep alone that can impact a person’s quality of life; failing to get good quality sleep can also result in heightened levels of stress, irritability, and frustration.

A lot of factors affect how we sleep: our sleep schedules, environment, stress levels, and medications, etc., but the influence of these factors can be minimized with proper body prep. By calming the body before getting into bed, you can improve the quality and duration of your sleep without having to make any drastic changes to your lifestyle.

It’s usually around bedtime that we start to process our day and think about everything! But this is not ideal for sleep-it clutters your mind and makes it hard to find rest. Find ways that work for you to quiet your mind prior to hitting the pillow. Some ideas are: 

  • Drink a hot beverage.

  • Try bedtime yoga, meditation or stretching.

  • Get a warm shower or bath.

  • Keep your sleeping environment for sleep only-don’t do other things in your bed like eating or watching TV. 

  • Keep the environment quiet, dark and cool. Try a sleep mask, closing curtains, and turning off the TV. Seal the bottom of your bedroom door with a towel or use a sound machine or app from your phone, or a fan for white noise. Excessive heat can affect the quality of your sleep and cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. Ideal is between 60-67 °F. 


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Find ways that work for you to quiet your mind prior to hitting the pillow. Some ideas are: 

  • pre-recorded meditations (there are free apps), white noise machines (of a fan).

  • Committing to a sleep schedule-work to establish a routine and get in comfortable sleepwear. Go to bed around the same time every night or at least try to get the same amount of sleep each night and get up at the same time every morning. This helps to develop better quality sleep by getting your body and brain used to a schedule. 

  • Journal or write prior to bed. Get all those thoughts in your head out on paper so your mind can slow down when you close your eyes and allow for restful sleep versus racing thoughts from the day’s events or stressors. 

  • Listen to music (without a screen) 

  • Read a book for pleasure

  • Draw or other crafting of your choice

Getting moderate amounts of daily exercise during the day can increase the amount of slow wave sleep (deep sleep) you get each night. 

The way we eat can also affect our sleep. Some foods help us sleep and others can keep us awake! 


Almonds have high amounts of magnesium which can help with inflammation and lower amounts of cortisol, a stress hormone that can keep us awake. 

Bananas are a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps with sleep. This is also why turkey on thanksgiving is always said to make us tired!

Chamomile Tea contains apigenin, an antioxidant that helps promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia.

Kiwi is a fruit that contains high amounts of serotonin, which helps regulate the sleep cycle.

Oatmeal and other complex carbohydrates can induce drowsiness before sleep because they contain natural melatonin, which can be a useful sleep aid. 

FOODS TO AVOID: (especially the closer you are to bedtime)

Beans can cause indigestion and gas pain.

Broccoli can take longer to digest and keep you awake.

Candy or other sugary treats will keep you awake due to wild swings in blood sugar levels. The initial sugar crash may help you fall asleep, but then afterward you will be stuck wide awake!

Spicy food can lead to indigestion, heart burn, and elevated body temperatures which can all make it difficult to sleep.