What is considered good sleep hygiene?
Getting a night of good sleep is vital to your health. Your mental cognition, mental health, and various bodily functions can all suffer from a lack of sleep so ensuring you keep on top of your sleep hygiene is essential.
Strong sleep hygiene means having both a bedroom environment and daily routines that promote consistent, uninterrupted sleep. This can include keeping a stable sleep schedule, making your bedroom comfortable and free of disruptions, following a relaxing pre-bed routine, and building healthy habits during the day.
Everyone can tailor their sleep hygiene practises to suit their needs. The idea is to harness positive habits to make it easier to sleep soundly throughout the night and wake up feeling refreshed and well-rested.
Is sleep hygiene important?
Getting enough good-quality, healthy sleep is important for both your physical and mental health, improving productivity, and overall quality of life. When you sleep, you give your mind and body a chance to rest and recover as well as support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support their growth and development.
Ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It can also affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others. Everyone, from children to older adults, can benefit from better sleep, and sleep hygiene can play a key part in achieving better quality sleep.
Sleep hygiene tips
Now that you understand the importance of getting enough sleep and why good sleep hygiene may benefit you, here are our favourite sleep hygiene tips to help you sleep better.
1. Set a sleep schedule
Schedules are a great way to normalise new routines and are key to turning these new routines into habits. Having a set schedule normalises sleep as an essential part of your day and gets your brain and body accustomed to getting the full amount of rest that you need.
- Wake up at the same time every day. Yes, this includes weekends too!
- Prioritise sleep. Set yourself a realistic bedtime and stick to it.
- Make gradual adjustments. If you’re trying to pick up new habits, don’t try to do it all at once. Instead, make small changes gradually so you can get used to the new schedule.
- Don’t overdo it with naps. Naps can be a good way to regain energy over the day but they can end up throwing off your sleep at night. Make sure you’re taking short naps in the early afternoon instead.
2. Follow a nightly routine
The way you prepare for bed can help to determine how easily you’ll fall asleep. Many babies and children require a good bedtime routine to help them sleep well and adults aren’t much different.
- Keep your routine consistent. Try to follow the same steps each night such as putting on your pyjamas, brushing your teeth, and getting a glass of water. Doing the same thing every night will help to reinforce to your mind that it’s bedtime.
- Spend 30 minutes winding down. Performing some relaxing tasks can help you wind down and prepare you for sleep. Putting on some soft music or low lighting, lighting a candle.
- Unplug. Electronics can really disrupt your ability to sleep to try to put down your phone or tablet and step away from the TV or computer about an hour before you go to bed.
- Don’t toss and turn. If you struggle to fall asleep within about 20 minutes, instead of lying there thinking about how you can’t sleep, get up and stretch, read, or do something calming before trying again.
3. Adopt healthy habits during the day
Good sleep hygiene doesn’t just rely on a good bedtime routine, what you do during the day can also affect how well you sleep. Incorporating good routines during the day can support better-quality sleep and limit disruptions.
- Get some daylight. Try to get some daylight every day, especially sunlight. Light is one of the key drivers of circadian rhythms that can encourage quality sleep.
- Exercise regularly. Regularly exercising can make it easier to sleep at night and also delivers a host of other health benefits.
- Don’t smoke. Nicotine stimulates the body in ways that disrupt sleep so it’s best to not smoke.
- Reduce your alcohol consumption. Alcohol may make it easier to fall asleep initially, but it actually leads to bad quality sleep during the night. As a result, it’s best to moderate alcohol consumption and avoid it later in the evening.
- Cut down on caffeine. A cup of coffee in the morning is a staple for many and it’s fine to drink before noon. But because it’s a stimulant, caffeine can keep you wired even when you want to rest, so try to avoid it later in the day.
4. Optimise your bedroom
Beyond just adopting better daily habits and nighttime routines, the environment in which you sleep is also essential to better sleep hygiene. It’s therefore important to make sure your bedroom oozes tranquillity.
While what makes a bedroom inviting can vary from one person to the next, these tips may help make it calm and free of disruptions:
- Have a comfy mattress and pillow: Your bed is critical for a comfortable and pain-free sleep. Analyse how you sleep and choose the best mattress and pillow for your needs.
- Use good quality bedding. The sheets and bedding are the first things you touch when you get into bed, so it’s good to make sure they match your needs and preferences.
- Set a comfortable temperature. Fine-tune your bedroom temperature to suit your preferences, but try to keep it on the cooler side for the best comfort.
- Block out light. This is beneficial for those who live in suburban areas as well as for those who like to sleep in a little longer. Use heavy curtains or an eye mask to prevent light from interrupting your sleep.
- Drown out noise. If you live in a busy city or area, the noise of cars can disturb your sleep. Alternatively, sounds from within your home can also lead to disturbed sleep. Ear plugs can stop noise from keeping you awake, and if you don’t find them comfortable, you can try a white noise machine or even a fan to drown out bothersome sounds.
Once you’ve adopted these good sleep hygiene habits, you’ll find that you begin to feel more refreshed and energised and will consistently sleep better than you did before. Enjoy the benefits of a delicious alcohol-free tipple with our range of elixirs including the Social Elixir for keeping you feeling good with friends or the Nightcap to help you unwind after a long day.