The habits and procedures that are necessary to follow to get a good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness, is defined as Sleep Hygiene.
The habits that many people don’t even think about, and definitely don’t realize affect their ability to get a good night’s sleep.
Think about what you do shortly before bed. Maybe you have a bath or shower, brush your teeth, listen to music or watch TV. These are all habits that you probably do every night, without thinking about it.
Some habits are great and can encourage good sleep. But others can actually keep you from falling asleep on time, and disrupt your sleep rhythm, causing you to get out of deep sleep multiple times a night.
Simple Sleep Hygiene measures to Start with:
- Start small.
- Just change a few habits and upgrade your sleeping environment to start improving your sleep overall.
- Invest in good sleeping equipment like a comfortable sleeping mattress (avoid mattresses that have springs), place extra pillows (to add to the level of comfort), wash all of your sheets and pillow covers weekly (expose the pillows to sun monthly), use eye shades, ear plugs, blackout curtains, white noise machines, humidifiers etc to make your room a relaxing zone.
- Get used to turning off the television or you probably will wake up multiple times a night.
- Consider mindful movements and exercise like Yoga or Pilates (10-60 min/day). Avoid strenuous exercise before sleeping or at night. If you enjoy cardio, schedule it a few hours before your normal bedtime.
- Avoid stimulants at night or 4 hours before bed time. The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical school suggests that you should avoid foods that contain caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol if you want to get to sleep. Instead only use chamomile or valerian tea.
- Develop a sleep routine that may consist of take a long shower or a hot bath with aromatic oils to release stress and become drowsy, reading/listening a book/audiobook or listen peaceful music to prepare yourself to go to sleep, write a journal or meditate to clear your mind of any thoughts that prevent you from sleeping. There is no right or wrong way to do this, as long as it is something you can keep up with.