You probably know that it’s advised to practice good hygiene to keep yourself healthy, and to help prevent the spread of diseases. But did you know that “sleep hygiene” plays an important role in getting the quality sleep that you need each and every night?
What is Sleep Hygiene?
Sleep hygiene refers to a number of practices you do to help you sleep better, which includes falling asleep easily, less frequently awakenings, and feeling alert and refreshed during the daytime after a good night’s rest.
Poor sleep hygiene habits can constitute anything from staying up too late to overstimulating yourself with entertainment, electronics, food, or drink.
Good sleep hygiene practices include:
⇨ Getting seven to nine hours of sleep on a regular basis.
⇨ Avoiding stimulants like alcohol, chocolate, and caffeine near bedtime.
⇨ Avoiding fatty, spicy meals before bedtime.
⇨ Avoiding large meals before bedtime.
⇨ Establishing bedtime rituals.
⇨ Creating a sleep-conducive environment.
⇨ Keeping the bedroom at the best temperature for sleeping.
⇨ Sleeping on a comfortable mattress.
⇨ Going to bed and getting up roughly the same time each night and day.
Keep in mind that there are other sleep hygiene “best practices”, like taking a warm bath before bed and avoiding daytime naps, and what constitutes poor sleep hygiene habits for one person, may not impact sleep quality of another.
Why is Sleep Hygiene Important?
Most significantly, good sleep hygiene practices helps to prevent the development of sleep disorders or other sleep problems, while promoting healthy sleep and daytime alertness. From toddlers to teens to adults to seniors, good sleep hygiene is important for everyone.
How Do I Know if I Need Help in the Sleep Hygiene Department?
If you taking a long time to fall asleep at night, wake up frequently during the night, or wake up too early, you should examine your bedtime habits closely. While the goal should be to sleep better naturally, if you put some of the sleep hygiene practices in play and still are having sleep problems, it might be time to speak with your doctor or a sleep specialist who can determine whether you in fact have a sleep disorder or just need some lifestyle or sleep hygiene practices adjustments.
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