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Jul 07, 2024

Good sleep hygiene isn’t just about clean bedding and a comfortable mattress. It’s about your pre-bedtime routine, how your room is set up, and much more. A good night’s sleep is the cornerstone of your physical and emotional wellbeing. The sleep issues that many people face can often be traced back to poor sleep hygiene. Here’s what you need to know about good sleep hygiene to finally get the deep sleep you so desperately need.

So, sleep hygiene isn’t just about clean sheets?

Sleep hygiene is a catch-all term that refers to the habits and routines that help you sleep better. Good sleep hygiene will improve the quality and duration of your sleep, leaving you feeling refreshed and rested when you wake up. While clean sheets are certainly a part of it, good sleep hygiene involves creating an ideal environment for rest, and avoiding things that could keep you awake before you go to bed.

The ideal sleeping environment

Modern life isn’t set up to create a restful experience at the end of the evening. In fact, most aspects of our daily lives are the things that keep us awake at night. Caffeine, blue lights, loud sounds and more can all keep you from falling asleep.

So, how your bedroom is set up for sleep is more important than ever. Here are the basics of good sleep hygiene that you need to know.

Your bedroom

  • Invest in your mattress: We all have a budget we need to stick to. However, your mattress should be the one thing you spend a little more on. You spend at least eight hours a day on it, so make sure it is comfortable and supportive.
  • Cool, dark and quiet: Your bedroom should be cool, dark and quiet. Blackout curtains are a great way to block out light, and some even block out a little noise too.
  • No screens: Avoid screens for at least one hour before bed and do your best not to have any screens in the bedroom. The blue light disrupts your circadian rhythms and keeps you awake.

Your pre-bedtime routine

  • Cut the caffeine: Caffeine is one of the biggest culprits. Avoid caffeine after lunch and no more than two cups of coffee a day.
  • Set a sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Your body’s internal clock will adapt, and you’ll soon want to go to bed at the same time every day.
  • Eat small: Big meals and lots of drinks can cause discomfort and will result in frequent trips to the bathroom throughout the night. Your last meal should be around two to three hours before bedtime.

Your daily life

Stress and anxiety are two of the most common causes of restless nights. Good sleep hygiene starts from the moment you wake up. Here’s how to keep calm throughout the day.

Breathe and be mindful: Mindfulness and a few minutes of deep breathing exercises can make a major difference at the end of the day. When you are faced with a stressful situation, take time to breathe and assess the situation so that you can respond calmly. Five minutes of meditation during a lunch break can also keep you calm for the rest of the day.

Keep your body moving: We are meant to move. 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day will help you fall asleep quicker and help you get the sleep that you need. People with limited mobility can do seated exercises that keep their arms or legs moving. But be careful not to exercise too late, as that can have the opposite effect. Your last exercise session should be at least two hours before bedtime.

Say no to naps: While many people champion the benefits of the 20-minute nap, especially if you are sleep-deprived, long naps in the day will keep you awake at night.

Seek professional help

Not all sleep problems can be traced back to poor sleep hygiene. If you’ve tried to improve your sleep hygiene but still struggle to sleep, your best bet will be to seek professional help. Your GP can help you identify the cause of your problems or refer you to a sleep specialist for help. Common causes of sleep difficulties include insomnia, sleep apnoea and restless leg syndrome.

A good night’s sleep is within your reach. By adopting a few good practices, you can doze off without having to count all those pesky sheep.



Mastering Sleep Hygiene: Your Path to Quality Sleep. Sleep Foundation. 2024. Available here.

12 Healthy Sleep Hygiene Tips. Healthline. Accessed 2024. Available here.

How to fall asleep faster and sleep better. NHS. Accessed 2024. Available here.

Sleep Hygiene: 7 Tips for a Better Bedtime Routine. Cleveland Clinic. 2023. Available here.

Sleep tips: 6 steps to better sleep. Mayo Clinic. Accessed 2024. Available here

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