Understanding Sleep Hygiene and How To Improve It For a Better Night’s Rest

The quality of your sleep hygiene can make or break how well you manage to get some shuteye at night, and it all falls down to bedroom environment and routine. So, if you struggle to rest easy at night, it’s likely that you have poor sleep hygiene.

Having poor sleep hygiene can lead to feeling exhausted during the day, which poses a risk to your own safety, as well as the safety of others; in fact, drowsy driving is one of the many risks of insufficient sleep, leading to more than 6,000 fatal car accidents every year in the U.S.

Thankfully, experts Hush, a bedding and mattress brand based in Canada, have provided five tips to improve your sleep hygiene to ensure you catch some Z’s at night.

Be consistent with your bedtime routine. Never underestimate the importance of a bedtime schedule; being consistent is vital to help your body’s circadian rhythm match your desired bedtime. Going to bed at the same time and repeating steps like brushing your teeth before bed will allow your body to associate sleep with your routine to release melatonin, known as the sleep hormone.

Allow time for relaxation. Instead of turning on the TV to watch your favorite show or using your phone just before bed, opt for a wind-down period that requires no screens. The blue light from screens delays the production of melatonin, thus affecting your sleep hygiene by preventing you from getting into a deep sleep quickly, so it’s best to prepare for the night by eliminating this. Try delving into a book, or even have a warm bath; once you get out, your body cools quickly and imitates the natural cooling that happens when your body prepares for sleep to help you feel more tired.

Add exercise to your daily routine. Exercising regularly isn’t only beneficial for your physical health; it can actually have a positive impact on your sleep hygiene, too. Incorporating moderate-to-vigorous exercise into your daily routine increases time spent in deep sleep by using up lots of energy, therefore making you feel fatigued. However, be sure to keep the last three hours before you go to bed free of exercise to avoid increased heart rate, body temperature, and adrenaline that make you feel more awake.

Eliminate light and noise. Blocking light and noise isn’t as simple as closing the drapes and keeping your bedroom door shut. It may do the trick to an extent, but there are still ways for both light and noise to creep into your bedroom and disrupt your sleep at night. Investing in a blackout curtain, or even wearing a blackout eye mask, prevents light from disrupting melatonin production. As for noise, consider a white-noise machine that covers up irregular sounds by creating steady and soothing background noises, such as static or ocean waves.

Ensure your bedroom is a cool temperature. While you may expect that a warm bedroom will allow you to get comfortable and sleep well, it’s actually better for your sleep hygiene to sleep in a cool environment. Doing so reinforces your body’s natural instinct to sleep, as your temperature drops near bedtime as a signal to get some rest. In addition, a cool bedroom regulates your body temperature to prevent any disruptions and also promotes melatonin production. So, if your bedroom is toasty, consider adding a fan to your room, leaving your window open, or even drinking water a few hours before bed to reap the benefits of its cooling effect.