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8min read

What Is Sleep Hygiene?

by Fabian Jackson

8min read

We all spend around a third of our lives sleeping and we do know just how important getting enough shut-eye is for our energy levels, concentrations and physiological functions. But are we making the most of our stupor? Here are some of the best (and easiest) ways to improve your sleep hygiene and the great benefits you can enjoy.

Whilst we might not always be able to reach the recommended eight hours of sleep every night, there are a number of ways we can improve the quality of our sleep. One of the biggest ways to do this is by working on our ‘sleep hygiene’.  

What is sleep hygiene?

Good sleep hygiene is all about setting yourself up for the best night’s sleep possible:  having a bedroom environment and waking routine that will promote a consistent and uninterrupted sleep – whether you’re getting a politician’s four hours or a teenager’s ten, it’s all about quality. 

It’s also largely down to the environment of where you sleep, along with your general habits during the day and just before you climb into bed.

Benefits of good sleep hygiene 

There are some great benefits of good sleep hygiene that’ll notice all day long:

  • Improved physical and mental health – with lower risks of weight fluctuation, diabetes and heart disease
  • Productivity and energy-levels during the day
  • Greater focus
  • Feeling more present 
  • Improvements to mood and memory 

working at desk

Headspace put it nicely when they say – ‘when you sleep better, you feel better, and you’re kinder to others’. 

How to improve your sleep hygiene 

Like changing any existing habits, introducing good sleep hygiene can take time. It’s recommended trying one step at a time, only introducing the next once you’re well in the routine of making space for the first. It’s also important to say that not everything will work for everyone, so it’s worth trying slight variations on these tips that you think might suit you and your lifestyle.

Here are some of the best tips for good sleep hygiene to add to your daily or bedtime rituals: 

During the day

  • Avoid caffeinated drinks in the afternoon (or at least six hours before you want to sleep). We could drink coffee, tea and fizzy drinks all day, but having caffeine in our  systems so close to going to bed will affect the quality of your sleep
  • Don’t eat dinner too late. The more time we have to digest before getting some shut-eye the better
  • Make time for daily exercise and sunlight. This doesn’t have to be half a marathon  before dinner, something like a brisk walk at lunch can do the trick
  • Stay out of your bed during the day. As inviting as a freshly-made bed can look, try not to work or watch tv from your bed. It should be a sacred place, only for sleeping – with one other exception for grown-ups
  • Limit, or remove, napping if you’re struggling to sleep through the night

coffee cup next to bed

Bedtime routine

  • Unplug from the outside world for (at least) an hour before bedtime and ideally leave devices out of your bedroom 
  • Try to limit alcoholic drinks 
  • Reduce the lighting around you in the final few hours of the day – especially white light from screens 
  • Try some bedtime mindfulness or meditation like these from Rachael Kable
  • Once you’re happy with your pre-bedtime routine, whatever combination of these tips works best for you, try to keep it as regular as possible to help reinforce that its bedtime – this even includes the order in which you brush your teeth and put on your PJs

woman  meditating

The sleeping part

  • Try to get your bedroom as dark as possible – heavy curtains, a blackout blind or an eye mask can help  
  • Limit the number of external sounds – earplugs or a white noise machine can do the trick
  • Keeping distractions in your bedroom to a minimum – creating a minimalist bedroom environment can help you unwind
  • Calming scents like lavender, jasmine and camomile can help promote relaxation 
  • Finding the optimal temperature is important too, this is usually a little cooler than you might think – somewhere between 15 and 19 degrees Celsius 

unmade bed

If you’d like to know more about what goes on whilst we’ve got our eyes closed, give this article from the Technologist a read.

Let us know which tips work best for you in the comments. 


By Fabian Jackson
Fabian Jackson

Fabian is one of our lovely Content Marketing Assistants who loves writing almost as much as he loves coffee, old episodes of Escape to the Country (no judgement here), and cooking up a storm in his kitchen.

Read more from Fabian

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