Best Practices for Creating Healthy Sleep Habits

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A lot of us struggle to accomplish the goal of cultivating good sleep habits and can’t figure out why. The inquiries on how to establish healthy sleeping habits increased following my recent call for kicking off the New Year with good sleep habits.

The answer is here – research-backed steps for building good health habits

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To start with, we have to understand what habit is. Dr Gardner, a habit researcher stated, “Habit is a behaviour with little or no conscious thought.” By definition, behaviours that require conscious thought or extended effort, like cleaning your room or writing a to-do list, are not habits. They are routines.

According to Nir Eyal, an author, “a routine is a sequence of actions intentionally repeated” To turn a behaviour into a habit, it first needs to become a routine. So, the first step towards creating long-term change involves building routines – not habits themselves.

To build routines and turn them into habits, here are the steps designed for new habit formation.

Please note, “Building good habits takes effort and insight

First, set a goal that is specific, measurable and realistic. Your goal here is 8 hours of quality sleep as an adult. You’re interested in good sleep for the improvement of your physical and mental well-being, and setting yourself up for a long and happy life. This reason is your motivation. A psychologist stated, “Good motivation affects success or failure at forming a new habit, so consider this motivation.” Recalling this reason will help you stay motivated when inevitable roadblocks to building new routines surface.

Identify the different habits you want to form, which are parts of achieving this goal. The habits include the routines that ensure a healthy brain like consistently drinking excess water, regularly eating a healthy diet in just-enough quantities, regularly performing SAFE exercises, and avoiding smoking, excess alcohol and stimulants like caffeine. Other routines are the options to make your sleeping environment comforting and sleep-inducing: quality mattresses and pillows, darkness, pleasing scent, calming sounds, cool temperature, etc

Prepare for roadblocks, such as what prevented your building the routines in the past because they will arise again and some yet-to-occur obstacles while forming the new habit. Handle and overcome them and keep working towards your new habit. Assuming a busy schedule has kept you from having enough sleep. To handle this, adjust your schedule to prioritize your time allocation to sleep. It is also good to remember that even if you stumble along the way that does not mean that you will fail.

Start with practical baby steps to help kick off your new routines such as developing a schedule

Find the right social support

We’re influenced by the behaviours of the people around us. Habits are contagious, being around people with the habit will help you pick up the behavior. Find someone who can support and remind you of your intentions when your motivation fails. Our chances of success increase dramatically when we make our intentions known to someone with a higher status than ourselves or someone whose opinion we value.

Discipline yourself to repeat persistently good sleep behaviours until they are so automatic and easy that you actually feel uncomfortable when you miss doing them. And make the routines fun to repeat as you’ll persist longer and ultimately achieve more if you make goal pursuit fun. This is because you are far more likely to stick with something you enjoy and repetition is key to habit formation

According to PsychologyToday, keeping track of your habit-forming efforts will help you stay motivated and strategize when you deviate. Use a journal or a phone app to help you keep track of your performance of the good practices. You might even consider sharing your progress on social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Lastly, give yourself time, keeping in mind that it takes a while before it becomes automatic. Forming a new habit can take some people a few weeks, while other people will take several months. It takes patience, self-discipline, and commitment.

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Are you currently facing any sleeping difficulty or looking for the best way to maintain quality sleep for generally wellbeing and healthy living?

A certified specialist is best fit to offer relevant advice for maintenance of quality sleep, sleep difficulties and solution.

Do you want to contact the Orthopaedic Sleep Consultant, Dr Charles Uzodimma, kindly send your request to sleepinfo@vitafoam.com.ng or Whatsapp 08129982143

Vitafoam is passionate about quality sleep, healthy living and general wellbeing of Nigerians. We are proudly Nigerian and constantly supports Nigerians with consistent quality products for comfort and wellbeing.

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