When you hear the word “hygiene,” visions of middle school health class may come to mind, where the teacher discussed things like brushing your teeth and washing your hair. But as it turns out, it’s a term that can be applied to other aspects of your life as well, such as your sleep.
As you likely know, a good night’s sleep is essential for you to function at your best—and sleep hygiene is a part of this. But what is sleep hygiene, exactly—and how do you improve yours?
Read on to learn everything you need to know about sleep hygiene to achieve your best sleep yet.
What is sleep hygiene?
Peter Hauri, PhD, a psychologist who was one of the first researchers to study sleep, is thought to have coined the term sleep hygiene. It’s generally defined as behaviors you can practice on a regular basis that promote healthy sleep.
Michael J Breus, PhD, board-certified sleep specialist, refers to these behaviors as “a set of guidelines before bed that is thought to help people get to sleep.”
Sleep hygiene is generally defined as behaviors you can practice on a regular basis that promote healthy sleep.
Breus says these guidelines can prevent awakenings during the night (something that can greatly decrease your sleep quality).
Why is sleep hygiene important?
Sleep hygiene is important if you’re aiming for the best sleep possible. Many studies say sleep hygiene is certainly a promising way to garner better sleep, although this is an area that does require more research.
One study, which looked closely at the sleep habits of medical students, specifically states, “improper sleep hygiene behaviors might be a reason for poor quality of sleep in medical students.”
There’s one caveat to the effectiveness of sleep hygiene, though. Breus says sleep hygiene by itself typically doesn’t cure insomnia if you’ve been diagnosed with the disorder.
You may require further aids such as medication if you have insomnia. But if you’re generally a poor-quality sleeper who hasn’t been diagnosed with insomnia, Breus believes sleep hygiene likely helps.
What are the signs of poor sleep hygiene?
There are some common signs of poor sleep hygiene. One big one is frequently waking up in the middle of the night. Breus’ top sign, meanwhile, is “sleepiness during the day.”
Sleep hygiene tips
Here, we’re sharing our best tips for good sleep hygiene. As it turns out, they’re simpler and more straightforward than you might think and can be easily incorporated into a nightly routine.
- Optimize your bedroom for sleep. It’s important to have the right surroundings to encourage good sleep. More specifically, you should have a “quiet, cool, and dark room,” notes Breus. This can mean creating a peaceful environment in your bedroom through soothing colors and soft bedding, running a fan, or listening to a white noise machine. To ensure darkness, invest in a blackout shade for your window.
- Have a consistent bedtime and wake-up time. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day is a great way to establish a healthy routine and can help you sleep better. Just keep in mind you should follow the same schedule on weekends and while you’re on vacation for it to really be effective.
- Prioritize getting enough sleep. Breus recommends a minimum of seven to eight hours of sleep per night. (Here’s how much sleep you need by age.)
- Cut back on alcohol and caffeine before bed. Caffeine can absolutely give you the jitters if you sip it before bed. Alcohol can disrupt sleep as well. That’s because it can create an imbalance in your REM sleep, which means your phases of deep and light sleep will be thrown off.
- Engage in relaxing activities like reading and meditation. Create a nightly habit of doing something calming before bed, such as reading, practicing meditation, or even doing a quiet activity, like knitting. Breus recommends lowering noises and stopping “media and blue light exposure” before sleep as well.
Practice good sleep hygiene by investing in a quality mattress
What do you mean by sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is a set of regular behaviors or habits that can encourage improved sleep.
What are examples of sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene habits can include creating a tranquil sleep environment, skipping caffeine and alcohol before hitting the pillow, and finding something relaxing to do before sleep each night.
What’s the most important aspect of sleep hygiene?
The top aspects of sleep hygiene include prioritizing seven to eight hours of sleep each night and getting on a regular schedule so you can reap all those amazing health benefits that come from quality sleep.
What is sleep hygiene education?
This simply means talking to your doctor and learning about healthy sleep habits. Your doctor may encourage you to put together a consistent bedtime routine.
Improve your sleep hygiene with Saatva
If you’d like to start making sleep hygiene a priority, you can optimize your bedroom, and in turn, improve your sleep hygiene, with Saatva’s selection of high-quality mattresses, bedding, and bed accessories. After all, a comfortable mattress, sheets, and pillow can make it easier to fall (and stay) asleep.
If you think a new mattress may lend itself to better sleep, you can take our online mattress quiz to find your perfect match.