Sleep hygiene, also known as sleep habits, are the practices and routines that determine whether or not we have a good night’s sleep. Ensuring we have a good night’s sleep is crucial for both our physical and mental health, and there are many different things that can improve sleep hygiene.
An important factor in getting a good night’s sleep is our bedroom environment. Decreasing stimulation in the bedroom includes reducing bright lights such as TVs, phones or computers before bed. Light is one of the strongest cues our body clocks use to determine the time and seeing bright lights can trick our bodies into thinking it’s still daytime. Specifically, blue light, such as from a laptop or phone, can actually block naturally occurring sleep hormones. Turning these lights off an hour or two before bed, or turning them to night-mode, is recommended.
Working or studying in the bedroom can cause us to make subconscious associations with being alert in a space that is meant to calm us down and help us relax. Trying not to work in the bedroom can help keep the two separate.
Exercising regularly, particularly in the morning, can be beneficial to a good night’s sleep. However, it is useful to try to exercise at least 4 hours before bed to allow your body to properly wind down.
Things to avoid
There are a few things that should be avoided that can negatively impact our rest. Alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine can disrupt our sleep and, where possible, should be avoided before bed. Contrary to popular belief, though alcohol may help us fall asleep, it can worsen sleep quality.
As well as these things, keeping a regular ‘before bed’ routine is very important.
We at VIVA! believe that being well rested and improving sleep hygiene is vital in ensuring optimal health and wellbeing.