Sleep hygiene is a very misunderstood term. It has little to do with staying clean while you sleep, but more to do with healthy bedtime rituals and positive nightly habits.
Following proper sleep hygiene will help you achieve a better night sleep. Every person has different norms, behaviors, and rituals that they practice at nighttime before bed. Staying up at night or sleeping in late to catch up on lost sleep is an example of poor sleep hygiene.
Instead, it is recommended to have a regular and consistent sleep schedule and practices which will help you achieve better sleep, which can often be the answer to sleep troubles.
The Importance of Sleep Hygiene
Many people underestimate how important a proper sleeping schedule is, but they also battle with insomnia and bad sleep. Having a good sleep on a regular basis is one of the surest ways of maintaining a balanced and healthy life, mentally, physically and emotionally.
Good sleep hygiene will help you regulate your moods, stay focused during the day and help you feel more productive. It is an easy way to ensure you function properly from day to day.
Signs of Bad Sleep Hygiene
Not having a proper nighttime ritual or habits in place leads to bad sleep hygiene. Signs that you aren’t getting good and proper sleep each night include waking up tired or feeling unrested, being tired throughout the day, waking up frequently during the night or having trouble falling asleep.
Luckily, these problems can go away when you start to practice a better sleeping ritual when improving your sleep hygiene.
Signs of Good Sleep Hygiene
You might be one of the lucky people who instinctively practice good sleep hygiene. For good sleep hygiene, the below factors need to be found or created in the bedroom:
- Quiet – a quiet bedroom is important when being able to fall asleep easily
- Temperature – the bedroom must not be too hot or too cold
- Dark – a light bedroom will not be conducive to sleep, the darker the room the better the sleep
- Comfort – a comfortable bed makes a world of difference when having a good night’s sleep
Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene
To improve your sleep hygiene, make your way through the below list of how to practice good sleep hygiene, even if you start with one at a time. They will all work together to provide a good and restful sleep routine for you to wake up feeling fresh and ready to conquer the day.
The right amount of sleep
There is such a thing as too much sleep, and most commonly too little sleep. Your sleep needs will change throughout life, but generally, for adults 7-7.5 hours of sleep a night is enough. You will know your body better than anyone else so you will be able to work out for yourself if you need more or less than this amount.
Have a routine
Your body clock is such an important factor in sleep. By going to bed at the same time every night you will be training your body to feel tired at this time, and it will be easier to fall asleep. It is also just as important to wake up at the same time every day, making it easier for your body to know when it is time to wake up and start functioning.
This might take a while to get used to, especially if you wake up frequently at night, but your body will get used to it over time.
Sleep in peace
Quiet rooms help many people fall asleep and stay asleep. However, some people simply cannot fall asleep when it is too quiet. White noise might be a solution for this, it helps calm anxiety and can even phase out outside noise interference.
The right sleeping environment
Your bedroom needs to be a place of rest, and the best way to ensure this is by having an uncluttered, dark and cool bedroom. Block out the sun with thick blinds or curtains to keep your bedroom dark. The right temperature for your room is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, so achieve this with air conditioning or fans.
Don’t use your bed for anything other than sleep
So many of us are in the habit of lying on our phones at night scrolling through social media or catching up on some work on the laptop just before falling asleep. Doing this stops your brain from associating your bed only with sleep, and could make it really difficult for you to fall asleep at night. Only use your bed for sleeping, your brain with recognize this and feel tired when you do get into bed to sleep.
Follow a routine
Just like children, adults need a routine to help them properly wind down before bed. A relaxing nighttime routine will help tell your brain when it is time to switch off and rest.
- Turn off all electronic distractions
- Have a warm shower or bath
- Relax your breathing
- Read a book using a soft light
Avoid long day naps – Taking naps during the day can be a necessity for some, but naps during the day that are too long might mean your body isn’t tired enough when it comes to bedtime. If you must have a nap during the day, try power nap for only 20-minutes. This is all your body needs to feel re-energized, and it won’t be long enough to interfere with your nighttime sleep.
Your first step to ensuring a good night’s sleep over and over again is to start improving your sleep hygiene. You will notice a difference not only with restful sleep, but you will find yourself more productive during the day, maintaining a healthy life emotionally, physically and mentally.
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