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What is sleep hygiene? 5 Tips to better sleep

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There’s nothing quite like getting into bed and relaxing after a long day, then, after getting a good night’s sleep, waking up feeling reinvigorated the next morning.

Practicing good sleep hygiene can help you get a good night's sleep every night and the good news is improving your sleep hygiene isn't difficult. In fact, this article outlines 5 things you can start doing tonight. 

What is sleep hygiene?

While it sounds fairly odd, the concept of sleep hygiene refers to adopting good habits prior to going to bed. Good sleep hygiene helps you get a quality sleep at night and wake up feeling more alert during the day. By following these tips, you’ll be doing the right things to help get your best sleep every night.

Here are the 5 healthy sleep habits for good sleep hygiene.

1. Get enough hours

Are you getting enough hours of sleep every night?

Some people swear by their ritual of 8 hours every night, whereas others get by with only six and are fully functioning.

It can vary from person to person and there is no definitive number, however, the average healthy adult requires approximately 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, with a range of around 6 to 10 hours.1

The number of recommended hours also depends on age. For example, teenagers need between 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night, and as people approach their seventies, sleep requirements drop by around an hour and a half.1

Note the times you head to bed and when you wake, to keep track of the hours of sleep that give you the best result.

2. Be consistent

There’s something to be said about a routine!

Your mind and body have a ‘natural clock’, known as a circadian rhythm, which regulates your patterns of sleepiness and wakefulness each day.2

Erratic sleep patterns can leave you feeling out of sorts.

To help improve your sleep, try and keep your sleeping regime consistent to avoid disrupting your own cycles. This involves going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day, avoiding late morning sleep-ins (even on weekends) and being smart about how you nap.

This habit will help you improve your sleep because your internal clock works best if you follow a regular sleeping routine.3

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3. No electronics in the bedroom

Everyone loves their smart devices.

They connect us with the world and provide an endless source of entertainment. However, they can also cause sleep problems in two ways:

First, the light from the screen can suppress your body’s production of melatonin, which is an important, sleep-inducing hormone, causing us to doze off much slower.4

Second, these devices stimulate your brain, keeping it alert and active, rather than calming it down in preparation to rest.

Instead, adopt good sleep hygiene habits by making the bedroom a device-free zone; or at the very least, switch everything to night mode.

4. Relaxation before bed

With the fast pace of our daily lives, jumping into bed at night and expecting to suddenly fall into a peaceful slumber is more of an ambitious dream than actual reality.

To achieve the best quality sleep possible, it’s important to follow a relaxing nightly routine which aims to slow down your mind and relax your body. You could try taking a bath, doing some gentle stretches or even lie down, close your eyes and do some gentle breathing exercises.

These little habits will ease you into a satisfying sleep-inducing mood and help to improve your sleep quality.

5. Make a commitment

We all know we should get enough quality sleep for good health - but then life happens.

Our schedules are as cram-packed as our lives, and with these never-ending to-do lists, sometimes sleep can lose out to other priorities. This is not a habit you want to get in to.

Instead, make a commitment to develop healthy sleeping habits instead. Set non-negotiable cut off times for work and when you turn off all your devices. Commit to a bedtime and decide to try meditation every night before jumping under the covers.

Perhaps even make a pact with your housemate or partner, so that you both keep each other accountable in making sleep a priority.

Do you want to improve your sleep quality?

These 5 healthy sleep habits are a great way to practice good sleep hygiene.

Recognising any poor habits that are hindering your quality of sleep is the first step to understanding how you can improve. Once you do this, you can begin to see how other factors like nutrition and exercise may affect your sleep too.

To begin your journey to better sleep, download the free eBook “Unlocking the three pillars of health” today.

Track your sleep with new myNight app

ResMed's latest sleeping innovation helping you gain smart sleeping insights.

 

Find out more

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Citations

1

Source: How Much Sleep Do You Really Need? Sleep Health Foundation.

2

Source: What is the Circadian Rhythm? Psychology Today.

3

Source: Good sleep habits. Sleep Health Foundation.

4

Source: Beginning the workday yet already depleted? Consequences of late-night smartphone use and sleep. Lanaj K, Johnson RE and Barnes CM. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 2014;124(1):11–23.

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