What Is Sleep Hygiene and Why Is It Important?
Sleep hygiene is an assortment of practices and habits that are essential for having good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness.
Sleep is vital for both physical and mental health. It can also increase productivity and quality of life. Patients suffering from sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders can mitigate the effects by maintaining good sleep hygiene.
Signs of Poor Sleep Hygiene
Recognizing symptoms of poor sleep hygiene is the first step toward sleeping better. Some of the common signs include:
- Frequent sleep disturbances
- Daytime sleepiness
- Taking too long to fall asleep
- Poor balance
- Low sex drive
How Can I Improve My Sleep Hygiene?
The most important practice for good sleep hygiene is batting the right amount of time asleep in bed. This amount of time varies depending on the person’s age, lifestyle, and overall health.
Newborns require a minimum of 11 hours of sleep a day, while the recommended amount of sleep per night is seven to nine hours for adults.
Other sleep hygiene practices include:
- Limiting naps – It would be best if you could limit daytime naps to 20-30 minutes. Short naps can improve mood, alertness, and performance.
- Avoiding stimulants – Chemicals such as caffeine and nicotine can affect how long it takes you to fall asleep. Alcohol before bed can also disrupt your sleep as the body begins to process it.
- Exercising – You can promote good quality sleep by exercising for as little as 10 minutes during your day. Exercise can consist of walking, running, cycling, swimming, or other activities.
- Avoid disruptive foods – Any food that is considered heavy or rich is best avoided. Ingesting fatty or fried meals, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks too early to bedtime can lead to heartburn that disrupts sleep.
- Natural light exposure – Exposure to sunlight during the day helps to maintain a healthy sleep schedule.
- Establish a routine – Having a nighttime schedule helps your body recognize that it’s time for sleep. This could include bathing before bed, reading a book, or doing a crossword.
Setting the Mood
Another practice that can significantly increase your sleep hygiene is making sure your sleep environment is agreeable. Creating a sleep environment that is pleasant and comfortable will help you get the most out of each night’s rest.
We have a few tips to help you set up your bedroom for optimal sleep. They are as follows:
- Dim the lights – darkening your room about an hour before bedtime will help regulate your body and prepare it for rest.
- Relaxed and tranquil – Choosing wall colors and decorations that you enjoy will help keep your room clean and inviting. Make your bed each morning to keep your room uncluttered.
- Temperature – The best temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees, but just make sure you’re comfortable.
- Comfortable bedding – It doesn’t matter whether your mattress is soft or firm, as long as you’re comfortable.
- Reduce noises – You can quiet the world around you by incorporating a white noise machine or a sound conditioner that creates a constant soothing noise throughout the night. We recommend turning the TV off while you sleep because the volume changes can interrupt sleep.