Monitoring and tracking your sleep hygiene offers a straightforward way to help yourself fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Sleep hygiene refers to healthy sleep habits, behaviors, and environments that promote consistent, quality, uninterrupted sleep.
By creating and following good sleep hygiene behaviors throughout the day, you can improve the quality and quantity of your sleep each night.
Why Is Sleep Hygiene Important?
Healthy sleep is critical for both physical and mental health. Those who consistently get high-quality sleep may have improved productivity, outlook, and quality of life.
- Reduced stress levels
- Better immune function
- Lower blood pressure
- Better mood
- Improved cognitive function
- Better problem-solving skills
Patients who don’t receive adequate sleep are up to ten times more likely to experience depression and seventeen times more likely to experience anxiety.
How to Improve Sleep Hygiene
The key to good sleep hygiene is to create behaviors and an environment conducive to consistent, quality sleep. Creating habits and behaviors that optimize your sleep schedule, developing sleep-supporting daily routines, and prioritizing a pre-bedtime routine can improve your sleep hygiene.
Sleep-Supporting Daily Routines
Circadian rhythms are the physical, mental, and behavioral changes that align with a 24-hour cycle. You can use the body’s natural circadian rhythms to support good sleep.
Actions supporting sleep and promoting the body’s adherence to circadian rhythms include regular exposure to morning and evening sunlight and physical activity. You can also encourage sleep hygiene by limiting caffeine in the afternoons and evenings and limiting your in-bed activities to sleep and sex.
Optimize Your Sleep Schedule
Adhering to a set sleep schedule can go a long way to support good sleep. Going to bed and waking up at the same time can train the body for proper sleep and wakefulness times.
Establish a Pre-Bedtime Routine
Creating a soothing pre-sleep routine can signal the body that it’s time to rest. This includes turning off screens 30-60 minutes before bed, avoiding bright lights that stimulate wakefulness, and following the same steps before bed, like brushing your teeth and putting on pajamas. Improving your sleep hygiene offers a free, easy way to help improve your overall health.