Sleep Health

How to develop healthy sleep habits


How to develop healthy sleep habits

Sleep is a wonderful and refreshing reward for your mind and body.

It’s what helps to give you the energy to live your best life and sustain you through each busy day. However, erratic sleep can sometimes upset your natural balance.

Your body regulates sleep in much the same way that it regulates breathing, eating and drinking, and it’s these regular patterns that lead to quality sleep, good health and well-being1

You’ve probably seen the benefits of these patterns yourself. Understanding these patterns and the factors that affect them may help in making choices that could lead to improving the vitality you get from your sleep each night2.

Here are a few useful pointers to help align your sleep habits into a healthy and natural pattern.

1. Consistency is key

Everyone’s sleeping routine is personal but introducing regularity may help you maintain quality sleep every night. Pick a comfortable bedtime and wake-up time, and keep to them as much as possible; even over the weekends.

Naturally, life will push these boundaries on occasion, and this is ok, but do your best and you’ll find that your body’s natural internal clock will become accustomed to your pattern3. Soon, falling asleep and waking up may feel a lot easier.

2. Smaller changes over time

While setting a routine is important, don’t make a drastic adjustment all at once. This may be as counterproductive as an erratic sleep pattern! If you usually go to bed at midnight, suddenly going to bed at 10 pm will probably see you staring at the ceiling for a while.

Instead, make gradual changes to ease yourself into a pattern you’re comfortable with. Edge 15 minutes earlier over a few days, and then another 15, until you hit your target. The same goes for waking times too.

Not only will this reduce the shock on your body and mind; it may also help you test where your own sleep ‘sweet spot’ is.

3. Avoid blue light

Humans have evolved over thousands of years to sleep according to the sun rising and falling. Because of this, our internal body clock is sensitive to light and darkness4.

At night, it’s important to have your room as dark as possible to help ease your mind to doze off; and in the morning, the natural light will trigger your brain to begin a new day.

Nothing has a more consistent pattern than the sun! So, when getting into bed, turn off all the lights, shut off electronic devices and draw the curtains. Then, when you wake, get out into the sunlight and let the warm light start your energy flowing again.

What’s your sleep score?

A consistent routine of going to bed and waking up is important to develop a healthy sleep pattern. It’s worth being disciplined as it helps sustain your energy levels during the day and ensures that you’re looking after your body and mind.

If you’re curious and want to get a better gauge of the quality of sleep you get each night, then ‘there’s an app for that!

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Source: Why do we sleep anyway? Healthy Sleep, Harvard Medical School.


Source: Natural patterns of sleep. Healthy Sleep, Harvard Medical School.


Source: Sleep: Facts and hygiene. The Department for Health and Ageing, Government of South Australia. 


Source: Melatonin. The Sleep Health Foundation.

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