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What Is Sleep Hygiene?

What Is Sleep Hygiene?

Getting enough sleep is essential for good health and well-being. Unfortunately, so many people struggle with sleep problems or sleep disorders, building healthy sleep habits, and clocking in a good night’s sleep. Even if you can manage to get eight hours of sleep, you might still wake up in the middle of the night due to noise, light, or general restlessness.

Whether you’re having issues with the quality of sleep, the amount of sleep, or the lack of a regular sleep schedule, taking steps to improve your sleep hygiene practices might help.

Good sleep hygiene can help people sleep better — and it's an easy habit to get into. Read on to discover all there is to know about sleep hygiene, including the benefits of implementing good sleep hygiene habits and how to start practicing these habits.

What Is Sleep Hygiene?

Sleep hygiene is the practice of sleeping habits — or behaviors — that promote better sleep. It includes strategies for creating an environment that is comfortable and conducive to restful, restorative sleep. Sleep hygiene also includes behaviors that can contribute to high-quality sleep, such as eating healthy and exercising regularly.

What Are the Benefits of Good Sleep Hygiene?

There are numerous benefits to having good sleep habits. For example, did you know that following a consistent sleep schedule can help to regulate your body's circadian rhythm? Taking steps to improve your sleep health and following regular sleep patterns can actually help you feel more energized when you wake up.

Good sleep hygiene can also help reduce feelings of stress, which can help you sleep soundly all night long. When you get high-quality sleep, you can set yourself up for success.

Why Is Sleep Hygiene Important?

Getting the recommended seven to nine hours of shut-eye on a regular basis is essential for a healthy lifestyle. This isn’t just important for your energy levels — poor sleep hygiene can also contribute to a variety of physical and mental health issues.

These can include:

  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Mood swings
  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue

How Can You Identify Poor Sleep Hygiene?

Identifying poor sleep hygiene is the first step toward improving your sleep habits. If you’re not sure whether or not you need to update your bedtime routine, there are a few red flags that can tell you it’s time to reevaluate.

These can include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
  • Frequent nighttime waking
  • Erratic sleep schedules
  • Feeling tired during the day or taking frequent naps

If you are consistently experiencing one or more of these signs, it's a good idea to take action to improve your sleep hygiene.

How Can You Practice Good Sleep Hygiene?

Establishing a consistent sleep routine is key to good sleep hygiene because it can help your body recognize when it's time to go to sleep and when it's time to wake up. Setting a regular bedtime and wake-up time that is consistent from day to day is an important first step.

In addition, creating a soothing bedtime routine can make it easier to fall asleep. 

Your routine could include relaxing activities like:

  • Reading a book
  • Writing in a journal
  • Taking a warm bath
  • Meditating
  • Doing yoga

Pick a few activities that you enjoy and make them part of your nightly routine. Read on for a few more sleep tips on to help you support your quality of sleep.

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Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment

Ensure that your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Reduce electronic usage in the bedroom, as using electronic devices such as phones, laptops, and TVs can release blue light, which can disrupt your natural sleep-wake cycle. 

If necessary, use blackout curtains or eye masks to block out any excess bright light that might be coming into your room. Additionally, some people prefer to listen to soft white noise when it’s sleep time. Most people also prefer a bit of a colder room — in fact, studies show the optimal temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

Practice Healthy Eating Habits

Eating a nutritious diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can help promote better sleep. Avoiding foods and drinks that are high in sugar and carbohydrates close to bedtime can also help, as can avoiding large meals in the evening. Remember, food is fuel — eating carb-rich foods right before bedtime can send your body the wrong signal.

Finally, drinking enough water throughout the day can also help keep your body hydrated and support healthy sleep.

Avoid Stimulants Before Bed

Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants that can disrupt your natural sleep-wake cycle. Avoiding them in the evening can help to ensure that you get a good night's rest.

Plus, caffeine can stay in your system for up to 10 hours after you drink it. While an afternoon cup of joe might sound good if you’re facing a mid-afternoon slump, just remember that it might affect your sleep later that night. Plus, getting high-quality sleep can help you prevent that slump in the first place.

Get Regular Exercise

Physical activity can help relieve feelings of stress and promote relaxation, both of which can have a positive effect on sleep. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, and try to schedule your activities for earlier in the day to ensure that your body has time to wind down before bedtime.

You can also try combining mindfulness with movement to help minimize the effects of stress on your sleep. The more you’re able to direct your thoughts, the easier it might be to get restful sleep when you need it.

Use Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques can help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, which can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

Examples of relaxation techniques include:

  • Deep breathing
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Guided imagery
  • Visualization

Seek Professional Help

If you're still having difficulty sleeping even after implementing these tips, it may be a good idea to seek professional help. A healthcare provider can help you identify any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to your sleep difficulties and provide additional advice on how to improve your sleep hygiene.

The Bottom Line

Sleep hygiene is the practice of good sleeping habits that can help you to get better quality sleep. Establishing a consistent sleep routine, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and practicing healthy eating habits are just a few ideas that can help to promote better sleep. 

Implementing these healthy habits into your everyday life can not only help you to get a good night's rest, but they can also help support your overall health and wellbeing, too! 

For more health tips, visit our blog.


What Is Sleep Hygiene? | Sleep Foundation

Physiology, Circadian Rhythm - StatPearls | NCBI Bookshelf

The Best Ways to Relieve Stress So You Can Sleep Soundly | Sleep Foundation

The Best Temperature for Sleep | Cleveland Clinic

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