Tips For Better Sleep

What Is Sleep Hygiene and Why Is It So Important?

November 13, 2020   By Jennifer Cook

Studies show that 57% of adults admitted sleeping less than the eight hours they should. Simply put, a good night’s sleep is needed by most, and unfortunately, they’re just not getting it. 

Current technological advances have changed our lifestyle and even the way we sleep. Our body clocks manage to adapt to the fast-paced nature of our lives, and as a result, we find it harder to get enough sleep. 

Lack of sleep can adversely affect our well-being, mainly how our energy and brain function. This is why it’s so important to get quality sleep, and that’s where sleep hygiene comes in.

Otherwise known as good sleep habits, sleep hygiene includes several factors, including the amount of time spent resting, the schedule of said rest, and the environment we sleep in, among others. Basically, it’s what separates good sleep from involuntary wakefulness.

Sleep disturbances aside, we also have a hard time maintaining a bedtime routine because, well, we have poor sleep hygiene, and quite frankly, that sucks!

With that said, let’s discuss the things that will get you sleeping without counting sheep all night.

Setting a Sleep Schedule

People think it’s more important to get certain hours of sleep for your nighttime session to be fruitful. While it’s good to get at least eight a night, when we’re talking good sleep quality, it also matters when we hit the sack. 

Most people go to bed at around 11 pm, some even later. For others, their snoozetime varies every night. However, it’s NECESSARY to set a regular sleep time. This means you might have to condition yourself to call it a day at a set time, even if you’re not sleepy. Better get those PJs ready! 

Failure to pay attention to our circadian rhythms or internal body clocks not only disrupts our sleep pattern in the short term, but also leads to further complications like fatigue and may even affect our cognitive functions and mental health, not to mention how it impacts existing health problems and your overall quality of life!

To keep a regular sleep schedule, discipline and deliberate intent are needed. Essentially, it’s necessary to overhaul your nighttime sleep habits. Once your bedtime comes around, turn off or refrain from using electronic devices or doing anything to disrupt your routine. 

Gadgets are known to emit blue light that acts as stimulants and unwelcome ones at that. These lights tend to trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, and that’s not something you want to happen when you’re trying to keep a regular amount of sleep.

Taking midday or afternoon naps might be tempting if you’re feeling sleepy, but it adversely affects your sleep pattern. If you constantly suffer daytime sleepiness, that might indicate inadequate bedtime and a lack of a consistent sleep schedule.

Having a nighttime sleep routine also helps you conk out easier as it allows your body and mind to prepare themselves to rest and recharge. A warm bath may also help relax tired muscles after a long day, stabilise your body temperature and put you into that sleepy mindset.

Invest in Your Bedroom

One thing to consider for optimal sleep hygiene is our bedroom furniture, including bed frames, mattresses and pillows, and whether or not they are helping to create a great night’s sleep.

The benefits of sleep aren’t limited to increased energy levels! Adequate shuteye can improve your mood and can spell the difference between being grumpy and a ball of sunshine.

Generally, people shy away from spending on things like bed frames, mattresses, and sheets, often thinking they’ll last forever. However, studies have shown that good quality mattresses and other bedroom essentials can help make your sleep problems disappear, while using older, worn-out choices lowers the quality of sleep you get!

A worthy investment is a good bed base that doesn’t squeak no matter how you toss and turn. Pair that with a comfortable mattress that has optimal firmness and both dust and mite-proof, and you are sure to have a good night’s sleep. 

Lastly, a pillow designed for comfort and functionality will have you out like a light as soon as your head touches it.

Sleep hygiene also includes keeping a clean and tidy bedroom by frequently washing sheets, vacuuming and dusting the space. Clutter and dirt can leave us feeling unwell or stressed, which is not productive to sleep.

We spend at least 8 hours on our bed on any given day, so it shouldn’t be surprising to invest in it if it leads to better sleep.

Set the Sleep Mood

In order to create healthy sleep habits, you must pay close attention to where you rest for the night. Ideally, your bedroom should be clutter-free and conducive to rest and relaxation. 

Quick disclaimer, high-quality mattresses, sheets, pillows and the like mean better sleep hygiene practices, BUT they aren’t only for having a good snooze. Scoring one spruces your sleep environment and improves your overall health! If you’re hung up on the cost, trust us, it’s worth it.

For starters, ensure that no bright light is in your direct line of sight, as this may interrupt your circadian rhythm. Our eyes are sensitive to light, and our brains might translate bright lights as sunlight, keeping us awake longer. 

Melatonin, a hormone produced by our brains in response to darkness, is also affected by harsh electronic or natural light and might become sleeping problems in the long run.

 As with lights, noise is a problem if you want a good snooze. Loud noises can stimulate our brains and make us more active and sensitive when we should be powering down to sleep. Having earplugs within reach could work, or playing a white noise machine or nature recordings like rain or waves may do the trick.

Good Nights Ahead

You can never go wrong by caring about good sleep, and therefore good sleep hygiene. Along with regular exercise and a balanced diet, healthy sleep habits play a major role in ensuring optimal health throughout the day, both mental and physical. 

Start building great sleep hygiene habits today.

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