The idea of “clean living” is nothing new. Chances are, you’ve probably tried to implement “clean eating” and “clean beauty” (aka two of the buzziest phrases in the wellness community) into your waking hours… or, at the very least, peeked at the hashtags on Instagram. But there’s one aspect of your life you may not have realized might need some cleaning up, too: your sleep habits.
“Clean sleeping is more than just getting enough hours of sleep, it’s about making lifestyle changes that improve sleep quality,” says John Rukel, Sleep Expert and Creator of Pillow of Health. “Clean sleeping can be defined as getting healthy, quality sleep. This includes sleeping on average 7-10 hours a night and establishing a nightly routine that promotes a healthy sleep environment.”
Lack of sleep can affect your appetite, energy levels, mood, metabolism and even your hormones,. If that isn’t enough to inspire you to drift off to dreamland in a “clean” way, funky sleep patterns can also kill your sex drive and age your skin (which, yikes). “Clean sleep is about taking care of your body so youwake up feeling rested, refreshed, healthy and happy,” says Rukel.
Ready to end your tossing and turning, (and the resulting bedhead), for good? Here are Rukel’s top tips for cleaning up your sleep routine. Sweet dreams!
Establish A Nighttime Routine
Your clean sleeping routine starts well before you actually fall asleep, which means you should start mentally getting in the zone ahead of time. “Clean sleeping means that as soon as you enter your bedroom and lay down for bed, you’re not focused on anything else, including whatever might be going on in your life or the world at that moment,” says Rukel. Try doing a zen-inducing meditation routine (Headspace has some great pre-sleep sessions, FYI) or a short yoga practice to help get your head in the game.
Embrace “Wind Down Time”
If you’re falling into bed after a particularly long and stressful day of work, chances are it takes some time for your mind to stop racing and thinking about building your #fempire. Rukel suggests adding a “simple, relaxing element” to your evening. “Choose something that makes you happy and puts your mind at ease,” he says, like reading a book (an actual book—not on your iPad), taking a bath or sipping some tea.
Create A Schedule
Your mom was right — getting 8-10 hours of sleep really is important to your health. In order to make sure you’re catching enough ZZZ’s every night, you may need to some adjustments to your daily schedule. During the week, Rukel suggests trying to wake up at the same time every day to help your body’s internal clock get into a rhythm. This might mean getting into bed earlier, (set a “GO TO BED” reminder on your phone to keep you honest), but missing out on the last few minutes of Sunday night’s Keeping Up With The Kardashians will be worth it when you wake up feeling #refreshed.
Adjust Your Diet
Reaching for an afternoon cup of coffee to fight that 3 o’clock lull may help in the moment, but you’re going to seriously pay the price when it’s time to hit the hay. “This may sound obvious, but limit your caffeine intake in the afternoon and evenings, and don’t eat a big meal right before you plan to crawl into bed,” says Rukel. Small portions, healthy food and herbal tea, FTW.
Ditch The Electronics
Let’s just get this out of the way: sleeping with your phone is not good for you. We’ve all been guilty of scrolling through Instagram when we should be trying to fall asleep, and then rolling over and checking e-mails the minute we wake up. To ensure a totally sound night of sleep, Rukel advises banishing electronics from the bedroom completely. “Keeping electronics out of the bedroom eliminates the possibility that you will turn on the TV or stare at your cell phone after receiving a text—all things that will only delay your sleep,” he explains. “Plus, electronics emit blue light, which interrupts your circadian rhythms, essentially tricking your body into thinking it’s not time for bed. Blue light not only affects your ability to fall asleep, but can affect how you feel in the morning too–you may feel sleepier and have a harder time waking up.” Start by committing to put down your cell phone at least 30 minutes before bed (you got this!) and invest in an old-fashioned alarm clock to wake you up instead of that same, annoying ringtone that haunts all of our nightmares.
Upgrade Your Bedroom
Falling into bed at the end of the day is something worth looking forward to, so why not make it as luxurious an experience as possible? Pick out a pillow that works for your sleep style, (back sleepers should go with something substantial, like memory foam, while side sleepers can stick with a medium/firm situation), and invest in some high quality sheets. If outdoor lights are problematic, put up some blackout curtains to create a cozy zen den to maximize your snooze time.