Have you ever heard of the term sleep hygiene? It’s often used to refer to your nighttime habits and whether you practice good or bad sleep hygiene can have an effect on your sleep pattern. If you want to get a better night’s sleep, the answer often begins with improving this, but how do you practice good sleep hygiene?

What is sleep hygiene?

Our sleep behaviours and patterns are referred to as our sleep hygiene, similar to body hygiene. If you are often pulling all-nighters, or sleeping in on the weekends so you can “make up” for lost sleep this is an example of poor sleep hygiene. If you follow a regular sleep schedule and avoid caffeine late at night this is an example of good sleep hygiene.

Sleep hygiene education is an essential part of the cognitive-behavioural therapy used to treat insomnia.

Why is sleep hygiene important?

Sleep hygiene is important to ensure you enjoy a restful sleep. Enjoying good sleep on a regular basis is critical to maintaining good mental, emotional, and physical health. Making sure you get enough quality sleep helps you stay focused during the day, regulates your mood, and helps you function on a daily basis.

What’s bad sleep hygiene?

If you’re waking up unrested each morning, wake frequently during the night, feel tired during the day or have trouble falling asleep at night, there’s a very good chance that you have bad sleep hygiene that’s messing with your sleep1.

What’s good sleep hygiene?

The four most important elements of good sleep hygiene are;

  1. Temperature – your bedroom shouldn’t be too hot nor too cold
  2. Darkness – the darker, the better
  3. Quiet – peace perfect peace makes the ideal sleeping environment
  4. Comfort – you need to have a comfortable place to lie down and stretch out

Top 10 tips to practice good sleep hygiene

  1. Say no thank you to caffeine later in the day & in the evening time.
  2. Steer clear of alcohol at night time as this is known to disturb sleep.
  3. Avoid heavy meals late at night, midnight feasts will not help you sleep.
  4. Stick to a regular routine to go to bed and get up.
  5. Use thick curtains, blinds or an eye mask to stop you being woken up by light.
  6. Try earplugs if noise is disturbing your slumber.
  7. Take a warm bath or shower an hour before you go to bed.
  8. Listen to calming music or read a book before bed.
  9. Avoid watching TV or using mobile devices in the bedroom.
  10. Exercise several hours before bedtime.
If your sleep problems are affecting your daily life, it’s time to see your GP. You could take the results of this test to discuss with your GP or, even better, keep a sleep diary for two weeks before you go2.

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Footnotes

  1. https://www.tuck.com/sleep-hygiene/#how_to_practice_good_sleep_hygiene_checklist
  2. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/insomnia/
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