If you’ve been struggling with your sleep cycle, or just generally found you are feeling sluggish throughout the day, then this journal article may be just what you need. In fact, reportedly only 20% of Australians are sleeping through the night uninterrupted. And it’s a well known fact that a good night's sleep will set you up for an efficient and energetic day ahead. So how can paying attention to your sleep hygiene help you? By promoting a consistently healthy sleep schedule that’s sustainable long term.
Firstly, you should be aiming to be active where possible during the day to create a healthy amount of tiredness at night. Regular exercise goes hand in hand with cultivating better sleep. Cutting back on caffeine in the afternoon and evenings, as well as having a smaller dinner will also encourage a better night’s sleep.
Next up, you should be aiming to create an inviting bedroom environment for a relaxing slumber, as well as a calming pre-sleep night time routine so you are ready to doze off as soon as your head hits the pillow.
Then try sticking to a schedule (sleep and wake up times), and make minor adjustments when required. By avoiding major adjustments, you are prioritising your sleep habits and essentially creating optimal sleep hygiene practices.
Reduce or even eliminate naps. Although it might be tempting to refuel your energy tank during the day with a quick power nap, this can ultimately rob your night time sleep quality, so it’s best to avoid napping where possible.
Try to ensure that your bed is used predominantly for sleep. The more you create habits where your bed is used for other things, such as checking work emails or social media, the more you will associate these practices with your bed and get distracted when you lay down for sleep.
Follow this sleep routine guide to create better sleep hygiene before bed:
Set your schedule - this is your desired sleep time and it should also include at least 30 minutes prior for unwinding in bed. During this time aim to conquer some mindfulness, breathing or meditation exercises to get you in a calming state, ready to drift off.
Disconnect - block out any light and switch your devices to silence notifications. It’s time to focus on a restful night's sleep.
Experiment with scents - creating a night time smell through aromatherapy (a simple air diffuser or candle will do), will train your mind over time to associate a certain smell with falling asleep. A popular calming scent used for night time routines is lavender.
Get comfortable - avoid tossing in bed and try to embrace stillness during your relaxation period before you sleep, this will encourage a deeper slumber.
Stay consistent - keep to your new habits as much as possible for a sustainable approach to improving your sleep hygiene long term.
Sleep hygiene is important for everyone but it is also very individualised, so we recommend testing out different elements of this guide while making adjustments that are right for you.