What is Sleep Hygiene?
According to SleepFoundation.org "sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have a good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness." The concept of sleep hygiene was developed in the 1970s as a way to combat mild to moderate insomnia.
How to Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Developing a nighttime routine. This can help your body recognize when it is time for bed. Relaxing activities such as reading, journaling, or enjoying a warm bath will trigger a response in your brain to let your body know it is bedtime.
Light exercise before bed. 10-20 minutes of light exercise before bed can be a perfect addition to your nighttime routine. A short walk or light stretching are perfect exercises to do before bed.
Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol before bed. Stimulants such as these can disrupt your sleep cycle. While a small amount of alcohol may be okay before bed, be weary of drinking too much.
Limiting naps during the daytime. A short 30-minute nap during the day has been known to elevate one's mood and productivity. Don't overdo it though! Too much sleep during the day can make you restless at bedtime.
Only using your bed for sleep. Limit the use of your bed for the purpose of sleep and intimacy. An exception that can be made are activities that are a part of your nighttime routine such as reading a book.
Signs That I Need to Improve My Sleep Hygiene
An inability to concentrate
If you exhibit any of these symptoms, you may have mild or moderate insomnia. If practicing sleep hygiene has not been working and your lack of sleep is effecting your everyday life, speak with your doctor as you may have severe insomnia.