Sleep hygiene is defined as "having both a bedroom environment and daily routines that promote consistent, uninterrupted sleep" (Sleep Foundation, 2020).
Getting a good night's sleep is one of the most important aspects of your day. Practicing good, restful, sleep habits is a great way to practice daily self-care.
There are four main categories to great sleep hygiene:
1) Keeping a stable sleep schedule daily
2) Making your bedroom free of disruptions
3) Following a relaxing pre-bed routine
4) Creating healthy habits during the day
A consistent sleep schedule will teach your brain and body what to expect on a daily basis. The two biggest tips for sleep scheduling is to prioritize your sleep and have a consistent wake up time. Prioritizing sleep means making healthy choices that will allow for a target bedtime daily. Sleep must be treated as a priority. Sleep as a means of practicing self-care means that you prioritize your sleep over other activities. Additionally, having a fixed wake up time allows your body to know what to expect daily. A perk of having a fixed bedtime and wake-up time means that your body will begin to naturally wake up at that time, even without an alarm clock!
Your bedroom should be as free from distractions as possible to facilitate your best sleep. Keeping the temperature in your bedroom cool can help you to sleep better. One of the most important components of good sleep is having a comfortable mattress and pillow. Having a restful night sleep on a comfortable bed can make a lot of difference. When making your bedroom distraction free, block out any light or noise. Consider black out curtains and make sure your TV is not on.
NIGHT TIME ROUTINE
A good night sleep starts with setting up a daily night time routine. This routine begins 30 minutes before your targeted bedtime. The goal of this night time routine is to put your mind in the correct headspace for sleep. Even though i may be challenging, one of the best things to do as part of a night time routine is to be device free. Devices give off blue light, which studies have found may decrease melatonin production. Instead, dim your lights and put on soft music, do a meditation, or read an enjoyable book.
DAY TIME HABITS
One of the most surprising ways to get a good night's sleep is to have healthy day time habits. These include reducing alcohol consumption, not smoking, reducing caffeine in the afternoon and evening, not eating right before bed, and being physically active during the day. All of these activities will help to facilitate a restful night's sleep.
KEY TIP: Keep bed and work separate. If you do work in bed, your body will begin to associate your bed with work, instead of sleep. This can make falling asleep more difficult.