Sleep Hygiene: What is it & Why is it Important

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Mar 14, 2023
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Millions of people around the world struggle with sleep, and without enough sleep, simple daily tasks can become challenging. We all need to sleep, it’s a biological need, and without it we wouldn’t be able to function. Sleep affects everything, from our brains and our hearts, to our lungs and immune systems, so what can we do when we find we are struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep? The answer could be improving your sleep hygiene…

What is Sleep Hygiene?

Sleep hygiene may sound like a confusing term, but the concept is actually very straightforward and is a great way to improve your sleep quality. Sleep hygiene refers to the habits that you have in place, to encourage high quality and uninterrupted sleep. This includes sticking to a set bedtime and wake time, following a relaxing routine before sleep, and creating an environment to support sleep.

In addition to an optimum environment and a good night-time routine, what you do in the day can impact how well you sleep, and so this should be taken into consideration too.

Almost everyone could benefit from better sleep hygiene. Research shows that forming good habits surrounding sleep is a simple and effective way to improve sleep quality.

How to Practise Positive Sleep Hygiene…  

Practising good sleep hygiene is all about setting yourself up well to have the best night’s sleep possible. Everyone is different and you may find you need to experiment a little to get the best results for you, but here are a few ideas…

- Start the day and go to sleep at the same time each day: This will help you settle into your own circadian rhythm, and your body will come to expect sleep around the same time each day, making it easier to fall asleep.

- Aim for at least eight hours a night: It can be tempting to stay up late to get things done, but it’s important to get at least 8 hours sleep per night. Use this to work out and set your bedtime and wake up time.

- Avoid screens and bright lights for an hour before bedtime: The blue light emitted by screens signal to our brains that it’s time to be wide awake. An hour before you go to bed, dim the lights and avoid looking at screens.

- Allow for 30-minutes of winding down before bed: This could include having a warm bath, reading, meditation or simply listening to a podcast or audio book.

- Allow 20-minutes to fall asleep: Laying in bed unable to fall asleep can be very frustrating, and this is likely to undo any efforts to relax before bedtime. If you find you are tossing and turning, try getting up and repeating your pre-bed relaxation tasks, before trying to go to sleep again.

Sleep and your Environment…

Your environment plays a key role in how well you sleep. Something as insignificant as a small flashing blue light on a TV or laptop could be enough to cause disruption to your sleep quality. Here’s a few ideas to create the ideal environment for sleep…

- Invest in blackout blinds to keep streetlight out, or block natural light out should the sun set after you go to bed, or rise before you get up. Always raise blinds as soon as you wake though, to help with your circadian rhythm.

- Ensure your room is an optimum temperature: Where possible, the best temperature for a comfortable night’s sleep is between 16-20 degrees.

- Try introducing white noise: If you struggle with background noise, white noise is a great way to block this out and help you fall into a deeper, more restful sleep. Our white noise machine Lull boasts 20 carefully selected sounds, so that you can find the perfect sound to help you relax. In addition, it allows you to access music and podcasts via your mobile phone, enabling you to use these as part of your wind down routine, without having to look at a screen.

- Try aromatherapy: Scents such as lavender can help you unwind and relax before bed.

Practising good sleep hygiene can make a huge difference to how well you sleep, and it doesn’t need to mean huge changes to your lifestyle. Just allowing 30-minutes of time to relax before bed, and making some changes to your environment can have a huge impact, allowing you to be better rested, more productive and happier everyday.

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TheaWellbeing and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material on is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health-related programs.