If you’re someone who struggles with insomnia then you may have heard the term “sleep hygiene” bandied about…but what exactly is sleep hygiene? Is it the same as having a shower or a bath before bed? Nope…it has very little to do with physical cleanliness (although that can play a part) and everything to do with routines and general habits!
For some people the battle for a good night’s sleep is constant and as a result they’re only performing to half of their capacity in terms of work and study. A lack of sleep can be extraordinarily detrimental to your general health and well being and if you are one of the huge percentage of people who suffer from insomnia then read on to learn all about how to improve your sleep hygiene and have a good night’s sleep…every night!
Sleep hygiene is one phrase which encompasses the many habits which we pick up which can either improve or damage our chances of a decent night’s sleep. Are you practising good or bad sleep hygiene? Some of the following might help you discover the answer to that question and more.
- Too many daytime naps can damage your chances of a good night’s sleep. While a power nap can sometimes be a good thing, for those who suffer from a lack of sleep at night, it is best to stop the habit until you are back on track.
- Alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine and nicotine are all stimulants; that means that they will keep you awake! Good sleep hygiene includes avoiding these things.
- Exercise is an important factor in sleep. If you work in a sedentary job or don’t move around enough during the day, then your body will rebel when it comes to sleep. Try to have a walk or a light workout at some point every day.
- Are you getting enough natural daylight? We’re not nocturnal and we need to be exposed to a certain amount of daylight every day in order for our brains to get the right messages and for our bodies to get the right nutrients. If you work indoors you must find some times every day to get out and about in the daylight.
- Bedtime routine is an important issue and if you don’t have a routine then it’s time to establish one! A bath or shower at the same time every night is a good idea as is a warm caffeine-free drink and a relaxing activity such as reading, sewing or doing a puzzle.
- Keep the bedroom as a place for sleep only; avoid computers, televisions and radios in the bedroom as they will stimulate you and as a result of that, keep you awake!
- Ensure that your bedroom is pleasant, well aired and clean and tidy at all times. A nice environment will add to your feeling of well being and allow you to fall asleep with ease.
Bad sleep hygiene is often the result of a stressful or disruptive lifestyle. Even if you can’t change your job or other stresses and strains, you should find that taking control of your sleeping habits will in time improve your sleep hygiene and you will manage day to day life much more easily with a good night’s sleep behind you.
Make the changes and you should see some improvement in your sleeping patterns in around a week.