There are a lot of factors that contribute to how well we sleep. It matters how many hours we sleep as well as the quality of sleep. When both the amount of time and quality are in check, it often means our pain levels will be more manageable.

Sleep hygiene refers to the choices we make about sleep habits. A major player in those habits comes into play during our bedtime routine, or in some cases lack thereof.

If you are someone who has a tough time falling asleep at night, start to analyze your bedtime routine and how it can be tweaked for better sleep hygiene. Below are some ideas on how to get the ball rolling.

  1. Budget time for a bedtime routine.

    Your bedtime routine should be at least 30 minutes of wind-down time. If you are someone who tends to transition from your busy day to your bed in 5 minutes, that might be why you have a hard time falling asleep. Leave time for yourself to properly relax before you expect to be asleep.

    Ask yourself what time you want to fall asleep and plan to start your bedtime routine at least 30 minutes before that.

  2. Step away from your communication devices.

    This means your cell phone, tablet, and laptop. The blue light from these devices can stunt your melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone that we naturally produce when it is time to sleep. If you usually climb into bed and flip through instagram, try grabbing a book or listening to a podcast instead so you produce melatonin at an appropriate rate.

  3. Use a simple relaxation technique.

    To slow down your body and mind, adopt an easy relaxation technique to help you transition into rest. This could be free-writing whatever is on your mind, a breathing practice, or light stretching. Taking just 5-10 minutes to properly unwind could mean a peaceful transition into sleep.

If you struggle to fall asleep at night, sometimes the tendency is to avoid going to bed. Instead, be an investigator and play with your sleep hygiene practices. Your habit options are endless, and a few adjustments could make all the difference.