Sleep hygiene is the term used to describe habits and practices which contribute to your sleep quality. When you begin to suffer from poor sleep, your sleep hygiene should be the first thing you look at
Get into a routine
Get yourself into a regular routine, start getting ready for bed around the same time every night and get up around the same time every morning. Get into good habits and stick to them, perhaps read a book before bed or have a warm drink. Whatever your sleep routine, get yourself into a pattern.
Turn off the TV…
Turn off your TV and stop using any electronic devices (including your phone) at least 20 minutes before you go to sleep.
…And find another way to wind down instead
Try reading a book, or taking a warm bath to wind down instead of watching another episode of your favourite TV show. Other ways to wind down at the end of the evening may include meditating, or writing a to do list for tomorrow to help organise your thoughts and stop you from overthinking when you should be sleeping.
Stop drinking caffeine in the afternoon
If you can avoid it, it’s best to stop drinking coffee and other caffeinated drinks around midday or you may find the effects spill over to the evening, keeping you up.
Keep a cool bedroom
If your room is too warm, this will disrupt your sleep. An ideal temperature is around 18C.
Don’t eat too much, too late
Keep meals later at night small, opting for light snacks in the hours closest to bed, if you’re hungry. Going to bed on a full stomach can make falling asleep more difficult.
Remember, your bed is for sleeping, not relaxing
Good sleep hygiene isn’t just about avoiding watching TV and being on your phone late at night, but if in bed, it should always be avoided. Watching a movie in bed, or scrolling through social media on your phone when you wake up may seem harmless, but it is best avoided. Your brain needs to associate your bed with sleeping.
If you’re still struggling to sleep, try keeping a sleep diary. Make a note of your pre-bed routine every night and score your sleep the next morning. After a few weeks, patterns may emerge highlighting what does and doesn’t work for you.