What is sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene refers to having an environment and routine that prompts consistent sleep without interruption. Sleep hygiene includes having and keeping a stable sleep schedule, making your bedroom comfortable, without distractions. Sleep hygiene also includes healthy habits throughout the day; and having a relaxing, pre-bed routine that you can quickly follow.
All of these can contribute to ideal sleep hygiene. Every sleeper can modify and tailor their sleep hygiene routine and practise to best suit their own needs. It helps each sleeper develop positive habits, make sleep more manageable, without disturbance, and wake to feel well-rested. Being attentive to sleep hygiene is an easeful way to set a person up for better sleep.
How to establish good sleep hygiene.
Good sleep hygiene is about creating the best position to sleep well each night. Creating a pleasant bedroom environment can help you relax and sleep well. Paired with this, pre-bed routine, daily routine, and sleep schedule also impact sleep hygiene. Below are a few optional suggestions to help build good sleep hygiene.
- Sleep schedule: have a fixed wake-up time and try to wake at the same time each day. Ignore the temptation of work, exercise or socialising. Sleep should be a priority over these things. Set a bedtime based on your wake time to ensure the best amount of sleep. Stick to this time each night. Don’t try to shift sleep times all in one go. Make small changes, adjusting by just an hour or two. Shifting sleep times in one go can negatively impact sleep. Try and keep sleeping to bedtime; sleeping during the day can negatively affect your sleep routine.
- Nightly routine: keep your routine consistent. Try following the same steps each night and include things such as brushing your teeth and putting on pyjamas. The pattern can reinforce, in your mind, that it is time to go to bed. Dim lights in the evening allow around 30 minutes of relaxing time before bed and include time without electronics. Try methods of relaxation such as mindfulness, meditation or breathing exercises.
- Daytime routine: being physically active and getting daylight exposure are both ways to start the day and help your daytime routine for sleep. Reducing caffeine, alcohol, and smoking can contribute to better sleep, more so in the afternoon and evening. Eating late and activity in bed can negatively affect sleep, so try also to avoid those.
- Room for sleep: Where you sleep is as equally crucial as habits and routines. Having a comfortable mattress, pillow, and bedding that best suits each person is paramount for a good night’s sleep. Allow the room to be a cool and comfortable temperature and block out any noise and light. Calming scents in the room can also help.
The importance of sleep hygiene.
Healthy sleep is vital for physical and mental health. It improves the overall quality of life, productivity and mood. Better sleep is proven to benefit everyone, and sleep hygiene plays a crucial part in achieving the goal of better sleep. Research shows that creating good habits is a central part of health. Developing routines that you can follow with ease can make healthy behaviours feel automatic to a person, allowing positive reinforcement. Building an environment and a set of practices to promote our goal can have a positive impact. Sleep hygiene, with both habits and environment, can create a higher-quality sleep and promotes better health overall. Improving this has a little cost and minimal risk but can drastically improve sleep and health.