Try These 9 Sleep Hygiene Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep 

Try These 9 Sleep Hygiene Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep 

How often do you feel tired or rundown? Does it make it difficult for you to concentrate at work or school? If so, you may need to address your sleep hygiene. 

Sleep hygiene is not the same as cleanliness (even if sleeping may stink at times). Sleep hygiene is about maintaining an environment and daily routine that promotes consistent, healthy sleep. Practicing these habits can boost sleep quality, but failing to do so can increase fatigue, insomnia, and even health issues like obesity. 

Proper sleep plays an instrumental role in your health and well-being. Let’s look at sleep hygiene, why it’s so crucial, and how to improve it for a better night’s sleep. 

What Is Sleep Hygiene?

Good sleep hygiene refers to habits and behaviors that promote quality sleep. To practice proper sleep habits, you need a sleep-friendly bedroom environment and daily routines that support rest. Healthy habits can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and one spent counting sheep. 

Just like we can do things to maintain our physical hygiene (like showering regularly and brushing our teeth), we can also take steps to promote proper sleep hygiene. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule, incorporating healthy habits into your daily activities, and ensuring your bedroom is comfortable for sleeping are all helpful for getting good sleep. 

Why Is Sleep Hygiene Important?

Sleep hygiene plays a significant role in our physical and mental wellness and our overall well-being. In addition to the morning grumpies, a lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep can lead to many health problems. 

Sleep deprivation, for example, can result in fatigue, irritability, and problems concentrating. It can also cause more severe issues, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Researchers have found that those who consistently lack sleep have a significantly higher risk of dying prematurely. That sounds like a valid reason for an early bedtime! 

A lack of sleep can also impact our mental health, and it isn’t just that snappy feeling while we wait for the coffee to brew. Lack of sleep has been associated with depression, anxiety, and mood swings. Additionally, it can affect memory and decision-making — research shows that losing even 90 minutes of sleep in one night can reduce your alertness the next day by 33% (so that explains the new mom brain!). 

Sleep hygiene plays a significant role in our physical and mental wellness and our overall well-being. In addition to the morning grumpies, a lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep can lead to many health problems.

9 Ways to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

It is obvious how important it is to keep our sleeping habits under control in the long run. If your sleep hygiene could be improved, there are some simple things you can do. We've collected nine sleep hygiene tips to help you get the rest you need. 

1. Avoid daytime naps.

As cozy as napping can be, sleeping during the day interferes with your sleep at night. Naps reduce your overall sleep debt, making it harder to fall asleep. As a result, your natural sleep cycle will be disrupted, making it harder for you to wake up in the morning. 

Not only that but taking a nap during the day may not be as rejuvenating as it seems. After you awaken, you may feel groggy and sleepy, especially if you wake up at the wrong time in a sleep cycle. If you can’t function normally, try taking a short nap as early as possible in the day. 

2. Exercise regularly but early in the day.

In addition to its other benefits, regular exercise can promote sound sleep by relieving stress and exhausting the body. Just make sure you time your workout correctly. Exercising early in the day is much better than shortly before bedtime. 

Your body temperature rises when you exercise, and it takes time to cool down afterward. Additionally, exercise releases endorphins that boost your mood and energy levels. Falling asleep can be difficult if you exercise too close to bedtime since your body may still be stimulated when you should be winding down. Make sure you give yourself a few hours buffer between exercise and bedtime. 

3. Establish a regular sleep schedule.

To maintain healthy sleep hygiene, it is necessary to establish a regular sleep schedule. Having a set bedtime and getting up at the same time every morning, even on weekends and holidays, is essential. 

A regular sleep schedule helps you regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm, helping you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Additionally, it allows you to wake up feeling more rested. 

Of course, life (and kids, and work, and cats...) happens, and we must wake up early or stay up late sometimes. But the more you can keep a regular sleeping schedule, the better your sleep will be. 

4. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime.

As we all know, caffeine is a stimulant that can increase alertness (hello, morning cup, or three). Unfortunately, it can also negatively impact sleep. Studies show that caffeine consumption within 6 hours of bedtime causes significant sleep disruptions. While most of us aren’t planning on drinking a pot of coffee right before bed, even a quick coffee shop run in the afternoon could affect your evening. 

Likewise, alcohol may also disrupt your sleep, even though it isn’t a stimulant. Initially, sedative effects may help you fall asleep, but they can cause trouble later. REM sleep is suppressed during the first two sleep cycles (hence passing out). Throughout the evening, an imbalance occurs, resulting in fewer slow-wave sessions and more REM sessions. This leads to lighter sleep with more disruptions. 

5. Don’t eat a large meal within two hours of bedtime.

A big meal before bed can be a bit of a nightmare (literally). If you consume large quantities of food before bed, especially rich foods like fried foods and sweet treats, you may experience sleep disturbances as your body works to digest the food. Not only that, but lying down after eating can be uncomfortable, leading to issues like reflux, heartburn, or indigestion. 

Despite the temptation of a food coma, it’s wise to avoid eating before bedtime. If you’re hungry in the evening, stick with a light snack like yogurt, fruit, or whole-grain cereal, and save the cheat meals for your dreams. 

6. Follow a bedtime routine.

To promote good sleep hygiene, it is also helpful to adhere to a bedtime routine. A bedtime routine can signal your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. 

Your bedtime ritual can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like. Routines can take many forms, but some simple ideas to consider are taking a warm bath or shower, coloring, or journaling, or reading a book. Meditation, light stretching, and deep breathing are also suitable relaxation methods. 

It doesn’t really matter what you choose to do to relax. Just try to stick with the same routine every night. If you follow your bedtime routine consistently, it will be easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

7. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.

Your bedroom should be your sleep oasis, so making it comfortable is crucial. Keep the room cool — between 60- and 67-degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. If you can’t control the temperature, use a fan or wear light clothing to stay comfortable. A dark room is also recommended since it promotes melatonin production and makes it easier to fall asleep. Try an eye mask or use blackout curtains if the light in your room is a problem. 

Make sure the room is quiet as well. It’s okay to listen to soft, calming music during your bedtime routine, but remember to turn it off once you’re in bed. A low noise level will help you sleep well. To block out disruptive sounds from roommates or neighbors, use a sound machine that produces white noise.  

8. Reserve the bedroom for sleep only.

Another critical factor in making your bedroom a sleep oasis is to reserve your bed for sleeping only (plus maybe a few other things). In other words, don’t work from your bed, don’t eat in bed, and don’t use your phone or tablet in bed. You should make your bedroom a quiet, peaceful place where you can relax and rest while trying to sleep. 

If you simply can’t resist watching TV, keep the brightness down. For those die-hard Candy Crush players, use blue light filters on your devices to prevent disrupting melatonin production. When it’s time to sleep, ensure all electronics are turned off (or silence social media notifications at least!), so they aren’t a distraction. 

9. Maintain a quality sleep surface.

Sleeping on a quality surface is key to a good night’s rest. Use a supportive mattress and pillows that maintain a neutral spine position. Remember that mattresses don’t last forever — check for signs that your mattress needs to be replaced if you aren’t sure if it is still in good shape. 

Also, your bedding should be comfortable and breathable to stay cool at night. Try using light sheets made from natural fibers like cotton or linen if you tend to sleep hot. If you have pets, arrange for them to sleep elsewhere at night, so you’ll have plenty of room, and they won’t disturb you. 

Deep Clean Your Sleep Hygiene for a Better Night’s Sleep

A lack of quality sleep can profoundly impact your mental and physical health, so making sure you practice good sleep hygiene is crucial. Try these sleep hygiene tips to improve your habits so you can enjoy the restful slumber you deserve. If your sleep problems persist even after implementing healthy sleep habits for a few weeks, it might be time to contact your doctor or a sleep specialist for help. They can offer additional tips and resources for getting a good night’s sleep. Sweet dreams! 

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your sleep, please contact your healthcare provider. 

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