Clean sleeping isn't as literal as it may seem. On first thought, you may think clean sleeping simply means going to bed freshly showered in warm, clean pajamas on clean sheets.
While this is definitely a part of good sleep hygiene and clean sleeping overall, there's much more to it than that.
Clean sleeping is a relatively new ideal endorsed by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Arianna Huffington. According to Paltrow, clean sleeping goes hand in hand with clean eating and requires aiming for ten hours, but getting at least seven or eight hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep on a consistent basis. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night. You have to make sleep a priority.
Here are a few tips for ways to get started with clean sleeping and hopefully help you to get a better night's rest.
1. Improve your sleep hygiene
Regularly wash your linens, keep the room dark, and a comfortable, typically cool temperature. Limit your screen time at night by trying not to use your cell phone or laptop in bed. Establish a pre-sleep routine. For example, brush your teeth, have a glass of water, plug your phone in out of reach when in bed, and read for 30 minutes or meditate. You want your routine to be relaxing and something that works for you and can be done on a nightly basis.
2. Clean up your diet
Try to eat as many whole foods as possible and limit your intake of processed foods and sugars. This should help to prevent drowsiness throughout the day and prevent fragmented sleep at night.
According to Dr. Michael J. Breus, a diet high in fat leads to decreased orexin sensitivity, which in turn causes poor, interrupted sleep. Orexin is a chemical that plays a critical role in regulating our sleep-wake cycle. Additional research shows trends between sleep deprivation and overeating, in other words, the better you're sleeping, the less likely you are to exceed your necessary caloric intake.
3. Limit your caffeine intake
According to a study published in The Journal of Food Science, 300-400 milligrams of caffeine per day can be consumed by the average sized adult without any adverse effects. If you are sensitive to caffeine, smaller than the average sized adult, or consume amounts higher than the recommendation, adverse effects include headaches, dehydration, anxiety, nausea, and restlessness.
In addition to being mindful of how much caffeine you're consuming, consider your timing as well. Try to halt your consumption of caffeine at least six hours before you'd like to go to sleep, roughly 4 pm or 5 pm in the afternoon for most individuals.
4. Get (or stay) physically active
Do you usually feel energized or exhausted after your workout? Either way, we all know that there are numerous benefits to exercising regularly, including sleeping better and longer. Research shows that individuals who perform at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity feel more alert throughout the day and sleep significantly better than those who do less or are not physically active.
Regular physical activity helps to promote higher quality sleep by increasing the amount of time your body will spend in a deep sleep, which is the most restorative phase throughout the night. While exercise is a known beneficial stressor for the body, it is not recommended that you exercise right before bed as you want to allow the body time to cool down and calm down. Exercise three to four hours before your preferred bedtime to reap the most benefits relative to improved sleep, especially if you struggle with insomnia.
If this doesn't work with your schedule, exercise when you can! You'll still reap innumerable benefits and sleep better than you would if you were inactive.