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What Are Good Sleep Habits? 15 Sleep Hygiene Tips

Good sleep habits, also called sleep hygiene, include these fifteen tips that can help you gain a night of restful sleep.

A sound and restful sleep each night is essential for your physical, mental, and emotional health. Many people complain of not getting enough sleep, and most of the time the reason is not practicing good sleep habits (also called sleep hygiene).

Sleep hygiene includes various habits and behaviors that help you have restful sleep.

15 good sleep habits

  • Follow a regular schedule: Ensure to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends or holidays. This helps train your body and mind to prepare for sleep on time every night and ensures a restful sleep.
  • Limit daytime naps: Frequent or long naps during the day may make it hard for you to sleep at night. Every person needs a specific number of hours of sleep each day. By sleeping during the day, you are more likely to stay awake until late at night. Daytime naps tend to lower your need for sleep (also called sleep debt). Thus, avoid taking a nap longer than 30 minutes each day.
  • Avoid all screens in your bedroom: Make your bedroom a place that is strictly meant for sleep and intimacy. Do not watch television or use screens, including mobile phones, tablets, laptops, or other devices at least an hour before sleep. These devices emit blue light that further prevents you from falling asleep.
  • Make your bedroom comfortable for restful sleep: A clean and comfortable bed is more inviting to a sound sleep. Ensure that your bedroom is free of clutter and has a suitable temperature and is soundproof. A temperature between 65 and 75°F is generally regarded as comfortable for sleeping. Ensure that your mattress and pillows are comfortable and your room has adequate ventilation. You may use pleasant aromas, such as lavender, to help you relax and sleep.
  • Avoid excessive caffeine consumption: Caffeine is present in coffee, tea, green tea, sports drinks, and soft drinks. It is present in certain foods, such as chocolates and baked goods containing chocolate. Caffeine consumption may interfere with your sleep by blocking a brain chemical (called adenosine) that helps you sleep. Late caffeine consumption (such as during evenings or at night) may further hamper your sleep. You must try to avoid caffeinated foods and drinks after your lunchtime.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption before bedtime: Consuming alcohol in the late evenings or before bedtime interferes with your sleep cycle. It acts as a diuretic (a substance that increases urine output) and thus may cause you to get up frequently at night. Even though alcohol makes you drowsy, it affects your sleep quality.
  • Avoid heavy meals before bedtime: A fatty or spicy dinner may prevent you from falling asleep. It is more likely to cause acid reflux. Give a gap of about three to four hours between dinner and bedtime. If you need to have a bedtime snack, prefer easy-to-digest foods, such as fruits, whole-grain crackers or cereals, and yogurt.
  • Take a relaxing shower: Have a warm shower, brush your teeth, and wear clean and comfortable clothes before going to bed. Doing this every day will be taken as a clue for your mind that it’s time to sleep.
  • Avoid smoking: Smoking and other forms of tobacco consumption can harm your overall health and sleep. It can cause several problems, such as breathing difficulties, that may prevent you from having a restful sleep. It messes up with the chemicals in your brain that help you sleep.
  • Keep worries outside the bedroom: Although easier said than done, stress management is one of the most crucial requisites for a sound sleep. You may practice stress-relieving habits, such as meditation, breathing exercises, reading, or listening to music before going to bed. Try to calm your mind before hitting the bed to ensure a restful sleep.
  • Avoid vigorous exercises right before bedtime: Vigorous exercises, such as high-intensity interval training, may stimulate your brain and increase your heart rate and core body temperature. This may result in difficulty falling asleep. Avoid vigorous exercises for at least an hour before your bedtime. If you do not get time to exercise in the morning or a few hours before bedtime, you may do moderate exercises, such as stretching, yoga, slow swimming, or walking before bedtime.
  • Avoid staying awake in the bed for long: If you have been tossing and turning with no signs of sleep even after being 20 minutes in your bed, you may get out of the bed. Do not keep looking at the clock. Take a slow walk or perform any other quiet activity, such as reading. You must, however, avoid using screens or turning on bright lights. Once you feel that you may fall asleep, get back into bed.
  • Get exposed to natural light during the day: Your bedtime schedule largely depends on what you do during the day. Enough exposure to natural lights during the day helps keep your biological clock on track. Soak in some sunlight each morning and make sure that your workspace has enough light so that you stay awake and alert during the day and sleep well at night.
  • Avoid excessive water consumption near bedtime: Staying hydrated is crucial for overall health. You must drink enough water throughout your day. However, avoid drinking excess fluids near bedtime because this may result in frequent nighttime trips to the washroom.
  • Get timely medical help: Many underlying health conditions may make sleeping a tough business. These include sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, and prostate enlargement (which may cause increased urine frequency). Despite all precautions, if you find dozing off difficult, talk to your healthcare provider.

    Why do we sleep?
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    Medically Reviewed on 3/23/2022


    Image Source: iStock Images

    Suni E. Healthy Sleep Tips. Sleep Foundation.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tips for Better Sleep.

    Sleep Education. Healthy Sleep Habits.

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