What is Sleep Hygiene?
If you are unfamiliar with the term, sleep hygiene refers to the overall state of your sleep practices. From creating an optimal sleeping environment to adopting various sleep routines, sleep hygiene is important to everyone.
It is understandable that every individual adopts various sleeping habits when they rest, and everyone is different. But at the core of it, maintaining and practicing various sleep habits will benefit you and your sleep in the long run.
Benefits of Practicing Sleep Hygiene
Studies conducted have shown that the importance of sleep is often taken for granted, especially amongst adolescents and young adults. And oftentimes, these individuals fail to see that sleep is not a choice, but rather, a necessity. It is important to practice healthy sleeping habits and practices, and I don’t mean just laying down to sleep every night.
Having and practicing good sleep hygiene will bring about optimal physical and mental health states for us, which improves our productivity levels and is essential to everyone. These practices are essential for not just adults, but also young children. In fact, it is important to foster these habits from a young age, so children learn the importance of having good rest when needed.
Sleep is a core element to our health, and creating adequate, suitable, and sustainable sleeping habits are important in keeping our bodies at their peak. If we choose to sleep by a certain time every night, say, 11pm, then these habits will be ingrained in our minds, and our bodies will just follow suit. Having a set timing to go to sleep is one of the most important steps we must take for a healthy mind and body.
On the other hand, if irregular sleep timings are adopted and practiced daily, then these practices will be almost automatic in our minds, creating negative sleep habits and affect onto our daily lives. From sleeping at 3 or 4am in the morning daily to waking up at 12pm in the afternoon the next day, our bodies will soon become accustomed to these timings, and our productivity levels decrease as well. This is not a recommended sleep habit for students, office workers and children. However, given that some individuals may engage in shift-based work, this may just be their norm and we understand that.
What Can You Do to Practice Sleep Hygiene?
The key to practicing good sleep hygiene is making sleep automatic and saying goodbye to sleepless nights. The first step we need to take is to effectively set a good sleep schedule. Making use of a sleep schedule allows for our bodies’ ability to get accustomed to waking up at set timings, creating a rhythm of consistently good sleep.
A good way to start is to determine what time you need to wake up on the next day and sleep at least 8.5hrs before that. For example, 8 or 9am are good timings to start and maintain. This would mean that you would need to sleep at 11:30pm or 12:30am, at the latest, to get sufficient sleep. It is also important for us to prioritize our sleeping schedules, and any undone work should be left till the next day to be completed, because your health is still the most important, above anything else.
If change is too hard for you, then start slow. Make gradual efforts to slowly shift your sleep timings every day, until your desired timings, so that your body is not thrown off by the sudden sleep differences and allows for it to get used to the changes that are happening around you.
When it comes to sleep hygiene, your environment plays a huge role into the art of commitment. Brushing your teeth at set timings, having dinner before a certain time, listening to calming music and limiting screen time are the first steps to creating an ideal environment for sleep. Additionally, making use of dimmer lights, can help you set the mood for sleep and get your mind ready for best and rest.
Immediate Changes That You Can Make
There are many ways to get started, and the key is your own personal motivation.
You can start by setting fixed schedules to sleep and adhering to them no matter how hard it can get. Sticking to a set dinner time is also important in ensuring that your food is well digested before sleep and getting dimmer lights for your bedside are immediate changes that you can make to cultivate good sleep hygiene.
If you are an avid coffee drinker, try to limit drinking caffeinated beverages before 4pm, so that your body has sufficient time to recover from the caffeine boost and prepare you for sleep.
The use of elements in your bedroom like including calming scents from essential oils, setting cooling temperatures and a comfortable bed will help you with falling asleep earlier well. If you are sensitive to sound, then perhaps preparing some ear plugs beside your bed and investing in some black out curtains can also assist you in getting better sleep and condition your body to sleep quickly.
If you are looking for good and affordable pillows to start you off on your healthy sleep routine, check out our article here for more.
You may also look at our essential oils article here on getting a suitable scent for you to relax at night.
More importantly, your bedding and self-motivation are the most important factors to cultivating good sleep hygiene.
We hope we’ve shared enough on the topic of sleep hygiene today and answered some of your queries on it as well. Do look forward for the second #TribeReviews article very soon and we look forward to hearing from you guys!