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What is Sleep Hygiene?

6 Tips to Improve Your Sleep

The National Sleep Foundation defines sleep hygiene as, “A variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness.”

Researchers have even studied and identified these practices and habits, taking the guesswork out of what you should do to get a good night's sleep. Here are 10 sleep hygiene tips that will help you improve the quality, and quantity, of sleep that you get each night.

1. Implement a sleep schedule

Humans are creatures of habit, even with sleeping. You should aim to go to bed and wake up at approximately the same times every evening and morning. A sleep schedule helps your body's internal clock remain consistent.

Yes, you should also try to keep the same schedule on weekends.

2. Make exercise a daily priority

Exercise doesn't just make you feel good, it also improves the quality of your sleep and can help you stay asleep for longer.

3. Create a bedtime routine

It's also important to prep your mind and body for sleep. You can do this by creating a bedtime routine for yourself, or even a series of small rituals that help you feel relaxed, calm, and ready to recharge.

Your routine might include getting ready for the next day while playing some soothing music. You could also journal before bed , drink tea, or read a book… simply choose what works best for you.

4. Understand how caffeine affects you

Some people can drink coffee after dinnertime without any negative impacts on their sleep, and others will be up all night if they have a sip past late morning.

Pay attention to how caffeine impacts your energy levels and ability to sleep to see where you fall on the spectrum, and then adjust your consumption accordingly.

5. Power off your electronics before bedtime

Your smartphone, laptop, tablet, and other devices emit “blue light”. This type of light is bright, has a narrow wavelength, and can hamper your ability to get a full night's rest .

Blue light increases your reaction times, elevates your attention, and can even improve your mood. Essentially, blue light messes with your body's natural melatonin production, forcing you to remain alert.

Limit your screen time at least one hour before bed and consider installing an app like f.lux on your devices, which adjusts your screen's color temperature so that it mimics natural lighting.

6. Manage stress and prioritize self care

It's hard to fall asleep while mentally reviewing your never-ending to-do list. It's even more difficult when you're always “on”, constantly moving from one task to the next.

Us humans need downtime, and it's important to pinpoint some coping mechanisms and activities that help you de-stress and take care of yourself. If you aren't sure what works for you, here are some ideas that my patients have had success with:

Whether your problem is an occasional sleepless night or a series of them, Foundations Counseling offers sleep disorder counseling and therapy.