According to Health Direct around 4 in 10 Australians don’t get enough sleep each night and for many poor sleep hygiene is the cause. Two important factors that go into getting quality sleep is the sleep environment and sleep hygiene. But what exactly is sleep hygiene? Put simply, sleep hygiene are the habits that are put in place to help you achieve good sleep. There is a measurable amount of research and evidence that suggest that these tips, if used long term, will improve your sleep quality.
Good sleep hygiene practices:
- Routine. Getting up and going to bed at the same time everyday, including weekends.
- Only sleep when sleepy. Listen to your body.
- If you can’t fall asleep within a reasonable amount of time, get out of bed and do something else.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. It is best to avoid consuming any caffeine (in coffee, tea, cola drinks, chocolate, and some medications) alcohol or nicotine for at least 4-6 hours before bedtime.
- Avoid sleeping pills.
- Don’t use your bed for anything other than sleeping. Leave the eating, drinking, work emails out the door.
- No naps. If you do need to nap, try to limit it to under 30 minutes and before 2pm.
- Don’t watch the clock.
- Exercise. But if possible, try not to do strenuous exercise too close to bedtime.
- Use the last hour or so before bed to relax your mind.
- Eat right. Try to eat 2 to 3 hours before bedtime and if possible, avoid heavy meals.
- Improve your sleep environment. Create a nice, clean space.
Good sleep is more accessible than you think. Making these lifestyle changes can mean the difference between a quality night’s sleep and a restless night’s sleep. Common sleeping problems are often caused by bad habits reinforced over time. What you do throughout the day can affect how you sleep at night. Try to incorporate theses healthy habits to help you stay refreshed and aware during the day.