Caring about sleep hygiene is one of the best steps you can take for better sleep. Good sleep hygiene means having a sleeping environment (room) and daily routine, which can support consistent and undisturbed sleep. A regular sleep schedule, a comfortable and distraction-free sleeping environment, practicing a relaxing bedtime routine and establishing healthy habits throughout the day can all contribute to ideal sleep hygiene. Everyone can practice sleep hygiene according to their needs. In the process, we can set positive habits to sleep at night and wake up well rested.
Good sleep hygiene is about how we can sleep with quality every night. Setting and optimizing sleep schedules, bedtime routines and daily routines are all part of setting habits for quality sleep. At the same time, it creates a pleasant sleeping environment that results in relaxation.
Set Sleep Schedule
Having a sleep schedule can make sleep an important part of daily life and provide adequate sleep needs for the brain and body.
- Have a fixed wake-up time: regardless of whether it's a weekday or weekend, try to wake up at the same time, so you can maintain a consistent sleep rhythm.
- Prioritizing sleep: sometimes it's common to miss sleep to work, study, socialize or exercise, but it's important to make sleep one of the priorities. Calculate your sleep target based on a fixed wake-up time and always prepare yourself for bed each night.
- Setting the schedule gradually: if we want to shift bedtime, avoid doing it suddenly because it can change the sleep schedule, but do it gradually about one to 2 hours so that the body is ready for the new schedule.
- Avoid sleeping beyond the night's sleep: sleep is easy to fuel up for the day, but can interfere with sleep at night. To avoid this, try to take short breaks and limit them during the day.
Follow an Evening Routine
The way we prepare for sleep guarantees how easily we can fall asleep. The following tips can help us to sleep easier.
- Follow a consistent routine: do the same steps every night, including brushing your teeth, getting into pajamas.
- Set 30 minutes for relaxation such as listening to light music, light stretching, reading or relaxation exercises.
- Adjust the lighting: stay away from bright lights as they reduce the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps sleep.
- Stay away from exposure to electronic devices: set 30-60 minutes to be free from electronic devices such as cellphones, tablets, laptops and also set blue lights which can increase melatonin production
- Relaxation: meditation, mindfulness, breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques.
- If after 20 minutes in bed you can't fall asleep, don't lie down. Stand up, stretch, read or do something relaxing in low light before trying to get back to sleep.
Build Healthy Daily Habits
Not only do bed habits play an important role in good sleep, but a positive daily routine can also support circadian rhythms and disrupt sleep boundaries.
- Light exposure: light, especially sunlight, is a key circadian rhythm that can improve sleep quality.
- Be active: regular exercise/exercise can help make it easier to sleep at night, as well as improve body health.
- Don't smoke: nicotine stimulates the body so it can interfere with sleep.
- Reducing alcohol consumption: alcohol can promote sleep, but when its effects wear off, it can interfere with sleep at the end of the night.
- Limit caffeine during the day and night, because caffeine is a stimulant so it can stimulate the body even though the body wants to rest. Be careful with consuming too much caffeine.
- Don't eat too late, especially if you eat heavy, spicy, so the body still needs time to digest when it's time to sleep.
- Limit activities on the bed/bed: to create awareness between sleeping and being in bed, it is best to use the bed only for sleeping (having sex is one exception).
Sleep Space Optimization
The main component of sleep hygiene besides habits is the sleeping environment. The following tips can help create a comfortable sleeping environment:
- Comfortable mattress and pillows
- Use good bedding: sheets and blankets that are comfortable and as needed
- Set a moderately cool but comfortable temperature
- Reduce incoming light: use appropriate curtains or masks to block out the light
- Reduce exposure to sound/noise
- Use soothing fragrances such as aromatherapy
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). (2011, September). In Brief: Your Guide to Healthy Sleep. Retrieved Okt 11, 2022, from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/sleep/healthysleepfs.pdf
- Zandy, M., Chang, V., Rao, D. P., & Do, M. T. (2020). Tobacco smoke exposure and sleep: estimating the association of urinary cotinine with sleep quality. Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada, 40(3), 70–80.https://doi.org/10.24095/hpcdp.40.3.02