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Sleep Hygiene for Good Health and Wellness
By Stephanie Wijkstrom, MS, LPC, NCC

Sleep hygiene is a science formulated to help people overcome disrupted rest. According to the American Sleep foundation, 47% of Americans report poor quality sleep has affected their daily performance in the last month. Finding solutions for better rest are vital when your health is on the line, research suggests that sleeplessness can accelerate cancer, erode cognitive performance, it impacts mental well-being and can activate many mood disorders. To help enhance your sleep:

Know your sleep type! There are two types of sleepers, night owls and roosters, night owls are biologically programmed to sleep and wake a little later. Roosters crow at the sun, roosters, will do best to find a job routine that can be done early in the morning. Same goes for night owls, their peak performance will be later in the day, honoring biology will do a lot for wellness.

Have a good routine. Routine is paramount to having improved quality and quantity of sleep. Find a regular hour in which you can rest. You should really be aiming for 7/8 hours per night so plan to go to bed that amount of time before your alarm clock will start buzzing.

Limit screen time at least an hour before bed. Our eyes are brimming with light receptors which are impacted by the screens we look at. When you are reading your email or social media account your brain is getting a large dose of light that signals to wake up! Limit exposure to at least an hour before bed to give your brain a chance to relax.

Spending time outdoors in the morning. The light from the sun helps us to become more alert in the morning giving our bodies higher energy. By maximizing exposure in the early hours we can find our way to relaxation in the evening.

Work out in the am. Studies have shown that working out in the am does help fitness friends to sleep better in the evening, however, having an evening work out has not shown any effect on sleep.

Lengthen your exhale. When using your breath as a relaxation tool, you can activate your parasympathetic nervous system by lengthening your exhalation to be longer than your inhalation. Inhale for a count of 6 and exhale for a count of 8, this small but powerful technique is a potent relaxant.

Stephanie Wijkstrom is a Mental Health Expert Specializing in Wellness and Relationships. She is the founder of : Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh- Western Pennsylvania Largest and Most Trusted Wellness Counseling Practice. Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh- Therapy, Marriage, and Family Counseling in Pittsburgh, Wexford, Monroeville, and South Hills.

412-856-WELL for an appointment or to learn more about our services or our 40 mental health and relationship experts!

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