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Sleep Hygiene: Tips for a Sound Slumber | Sleep Reset

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Sleep hygiene is an umbrella term that refers to healthy sleep habits. When you nail down your sleep hygiene practices, you’ll be able to fall asleep faster and sleep deeper.

Quality sleep is essential to your health, so it’s worth reflecting on your sleep hygiene on a consistent basis. Click the button below to learn more about how the Sleep Reset program can improve your sleep or keep reading to find out ways you can start practicing better sleep hygiene today.

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What Is Sleep Hygiene?

Sleep hygiene is the practice of creating better sleep habits and following a scheduled sleep routine. There are a number of ways you can improve your sleep hygiene. The more sleep hygiene practices you put in place, the easier it will be for you to get quality, uninterrupted sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.

One thing to keep in mind about sleep hygiene – it doesn’t mean you just need to change your habits near bedtime. You need to make changes to your daily routines and habits to promote better sleep.

Why Is It Important?

Good sleep hygiene is important because it boosts the quality of your sleep, and everyone can benefit from better sleep. There’s nothing to lose when it comes to improving your sleep hygiene. 

Most good sleep hygiene practices are completely safe and risk-free. As you practice your sleep hygiene on a regular basis, they’ll eventually become natural habits that make you feel better and they help you sleep more soundly.

How It Relates to Psychology

Sleep hygiene is intrinsically linked to psychology in a number of ways. First and foremost, when you do something habitually, it becomes almost automatic. If you’re forming good habits, you’ll continue to do them and benefit. However,  if you’re forming negative habits, you’ll deal with the negative effects and downsides of practicing them.

Bad sleep habits can also affect your mental health. Those with insomnia have a higher risk of depression and anxiety. If you already have a mood disorder, a lack of sleep can make it more difficult to manage.

Sleep can also affect your psychological state in the short term, even if you don’t have a mood disorder. If you’re sleep deprived, you may be more irritable and find it hard to manage extreme emotions. 

A good night’s sleep will always be beneficial to your brain.

How To Practice Good Sleep Habits

It may seem obvious, but the best way to practice good sleep habits is just getting yourself to do them consistently. If you can keep up your good habits every day, they’ll become ingrained in your routine and it will be easier to stick to them.

Habit formation takes time! If you’re looking to form new sleep hygiene practices, it’s best to start slow and add in more habits gradually. See if you can stick to one new habit for a couple of weeks, and then add in a new one. Trying to form too many new habits at once might get overwhelming, and discourage you.

The road to better sleep isn’t an immediate one, but it’s well worth the effort.

Sleep Hygiene Do’s and Don'ts

Keep a Journal - If you frequently If you want to practice good sleep hygiene, there are plenty of places you can start. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts of sleep hygiene to help you improve your sleep:

Do Have a Set Sleep Schedule - A set sleep schedule means that you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. Sticking to a schedule will help your body and mind know when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up. Try to allow for at least six hours of sleep in your schedule. For most people seven to eight hours is ideal. 

Don’t Change Your Schedule on Weekends - When you don’t have work, it can be tempting to change your sleep schedule up on the weekends. But when you’re trying to establish your schedule and develop good habits, you should continue to stick to your schedule on weekends, if possible.

Do Take It Slow - Remember, you don’t have to rush good sleep hygiene. As you gradually add more good habits to your routine, you’ll be setting yourself up for great sleep for the rest of your life.

Don’t Add Too Many Habits at Once - Once you start forming a habit or two and you’re feeling good, it could be tempting to add a bunch of new habits at once. But don’t forget to take it slow and steady. Continue to gradually improve your sleep, so you don’t mess up your routine.

Do Prioritize Your Sleep - When you’re trying to establish good sleep hygiene, make sure you’re prioritizing sleep over other activities as often as possible. This means you save that next episode of your favorite show for tomorrow, instead of cutting into your established sleep time. Once you get within 30 minutes to an hour of your scheduled bedtime, you should make an effort to start winding down for the night. 

Don’t Nap Too Often - Naps late in the afternoon can easily disrupt your normal sleep patterns. Taking naps that are too long can throw you off too. If possible, nap earlier in the day if you need to and try to keep it under 15 minutes. 

Do Have a Sleep Routine - Going to bed should be an activity you look forward to. Have a relaxing sleep routine to help you get ready for bed. Put on your comfortable pajamas, indulge in a soothing skin routine, brush your teeth, read a book next to a calming candle. Whatever you want to do, make sure to give yourself enough time to do it every night. Once you have a relaxing routine in place, it’ll be something you want to do every night.

Don’t Drink Caffeine Late - Caffeine can disrupt your sleep if you consume it too late in the day. Everyone has varying levels of tolerance, but if you’re drinking caffeine in the late afternoon or evening and you’re having sleep problems, you may want to try to cut back or only have it in the morning.

Do Get Some Sun During the Day - Natural sunlight helps set your body’s circadian cycle. It’s a good idea to get some outdoor time during the day. Not only is outside time great for sleep, but it has been shown to have benefits for your mental health as well. If you’re able to get outside for even 15 or 20 minutes a day, that can make a big difference.

Don’t Lie in Bed Awake - Tossing and turning can lead to increased anxiety around sleep.  If you find that you can’t fall asleep after 10-15 minutes, it’s best to get up and try again a little later. Take a brief walk around the house, do some light stretching, or any other calming activity in dim light that might help get you in a more restful state.

Do Make Your Bedroom Comfortable - Your bedroom should be as accommodating for sleep as possible. That means having comfortable bedding and a nice mattress, but it also means keeping your room dark and quiet. Your sleep environment should be as free from stimuli as possible. This will help you sleep deeper and wake up feeling more refreshed.

Don’t Use Your Bed for Other Activities - Your bed should only be used for sex and sleep. Don’t use your bed for work, watching TV, or other activities. Avoiding these helps you strengthen the association between your bed and sleep. With time, your mind connects your bed as a place meant for rest, making it easier to fall asleep at night.

Do Exercise - Try to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day. Exercise helps you rest at night and is good for your mental and physical health overall. Your exercise doesn’t even need to be that strenuous. Even a light 30 minute walk will be better than nothing. Just make sure you’re not exercising too close to bedtime. This could give you a burst of energy and make it harder to fall asleep when you’re supposed to.

Don’t Drink Alcohol Right Before Bed - There’s no need to cut out alcohol completely, but drinking right before you turn in for the night can cause problems with your sleep. Although the alcohol might make you feel drowsy and cause you to fall asleep faster, you won’t sleep as soundly. The effects can cause you to wake during the night and get a less restful night’s sleep.

Do Try Relaxation Methods - Finally, a good sleep hygiene habit is practicing relaxation methods. Here are a few you could try yourself:

  • Breathing exercises - Breathing exercises can help calm your mind and put your body in a restful state. You can try guided breathing or you can take deep, slow breaths in and out.
  • Meditation - Meditation can help clear your mind and prepare it for rest. When you meditate, you can be more mindful of your stressors and calm your thoughts.
  • Light Stretching - Doing some light stretches can help loosen up your muscles and get them ready for bed. If you find you’re feeling tense at the end of the day, this is a good way to unwind.

find your thoughts racing while you’re trying to sleep, try to get those thoughts out on paper. This can help you set them aside for the next day and get them off your mind, letting you get a better night’s sleep.

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation - If you find stretching isn’t helping to ease your body tension, try progressive muscle relaxation. With this practice, you tense your muscles individually for about five seconds and release the tension for 30 seconds, feeling each muscle relax. This can help you feel the physical sensation of your muscles tense and let go of that tension.

Practicing good sleep hygiene takes some time and effort to achieve, but it will be worth it when you sleep deeper and wake up alert and energetic each day.

Start Sleeping Better With Sleep Reset Today!

Developing good sleep habits is much easier when you have help and a place to start. That’s what Sleep Reset can help you do. The Sleep Reset program will look at your individual sleep concerns, create a personalized program designed to address those concerns, and match you with a sleep coach who will guide you and keep you accountable.

If you’re ready to get better sleep to feel your best, Sleep Reset is ready to help. It all starts with our quick and easy Sleep Quiz. Our assessment will help us assess your sleep needs and develop the right plan for you. Take our sleep assessment to start your journey to better sleep today!