Often when people think of habits, they think of the bad ones like their smoking habit or the way they habitually bite their nails to the nub. But not all habits have to be bad for you. Some habits can be good. For example, sleep hygiene is the set of habits that people create in their lives that help them to get a better night’s sleep.
How Long Does It Take to Create a Habit
You may have heard someone say at some point in time that it takes 21 days to create or break a habit. Well, this isn’t necessarily true. In fact, it can take between 18 and 254 days to create a habit. If you’re wondering why the large difference in time, you’re in good company. Many people wonder why there’s such a difference between habit formation.
The first reason why there is such a difference between the length of time it takes to form a habit is that some habits happen with more frequency than others. When people smoke, they often smoke multiple times a day so it will likely take them less time to form that habit than to break it because of the frequency. However, if you are trying to create a new habit of going to the gym three times a week, it will likely take longer to form this habit because you only do it three times a week.
Habits are behaviors that your brain will associate with circumstances. If your brain has started to associate stress relief with eating a chocolate bar, every time you’re stressed you’ll go reach for something sweet. Experts often suggest that if you want to stop a bad habit, you should replace it with a good one so that your brain has a new habit to go to when something like stress or joy comes around.
Sleep and Your Habits
Habits come in many forms, especially those that relate to sleep. One common sleep habit is to turn on the television at night to help you drift off to sleep. While many people swear by this habit, studies show that electronics at night time can cause your brain to stay alert longer making it harder to fall asleep when you need to.
Electronic devices, like televisions and smartphones, emit blue light. In less than scientific terms, blue light wakes up your brain. So while it may seem like binge-watching Netflix at night is a great way to get more sleep, this habit may actually be robbing you of hours of sleep each week.
Good Habits That Will Help You Sleep Better
Binge-watching old episodes of Star Trek might be out if you’ve noticed you’re still tired the next morning; however, there are some good habits that you can create that will help you sleep better each night.
One good habit that you can try that is not only better for your sleep but also improves your overall general well-being is to try a daily 20 to 30-minute brisk walk. Not only will this new habit help you to be healthier and get better sleep at night, but it will also prepare you for your next trip to Disney (the Magic Kingdom is amazing but it’s A LOT of walking).
If walking isn’t really your thing, you can try any other type of light exercise, including yoga, as a habit that can help you sleep better each night. But exercise isn’t the only habit that you can start in your life. There are 11 other habits that you can try out to help you sleep better each night.
In the infographic below by NYC Mattress Store SleePare, they outline 12 habits that you can adopt to help you get the best sleep of your life. Remember, habits take time to work and you don’t have to try every single habit on the list to sleep better each night. Try a few and see what works for you then come back and let me know what habit really helped you to get a great night’s sleep.