Sleep hygiene is one of the most straightforward ways to set yourself up for better sleep. But really, what is it?
It means that you’ve got the environment and routines to set you up for consistently good and uninterrupted sleep. It is about making the best decisions every day to promote sleep and allow you to be relaxed and undisturbed when you lay down in bed each night.
Healthy sleep is essential to good physical and mental health, and there is plenty of research to indicate that good sleep habits can lead to better health outcomes.
Here are some ways to create good sleep hygiene to help you get the best sleeps possible.
Set a schedule: Have a fixed sleep and wake time regardless of whether it’s a weekend or weekday.
Prioritize sleep: Get to bed at the same time each night, even if it means leaving a gathering or watching your favorite show/end of the game the next day.
Make gradual adjustments: Don’t make all the changes at once. Start with a half-hour to one-hour difference at the beginning.
Have a nightly routine: Follow the same steps every night to get you ready for bed. It should include roughly 30-minutes for winding down, no screens, dim lighting, and some form of relaxation.
Create strong daily habits: During the day, be sure to get some exposure to natural light (particularly in the morning), be active, limit alcohol, watch caffeine intake timing, and avoid eating too much and too late in the evening. Eat your biggest meals in the mid-day and avoid snacking before bed. If you do, make sure it is light.
Create a sleep-promoting space in the bedroom: Blackout curtains or an eye mask, a comfortable mattress, pillow, and bedding, cool temperature, calming scents (like lavender), and earplugs may all help set the ideal stage for a good night’s sleep.