What is Sleep Hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is a set of practices that help you sleep better, feel more rested and function better during the day. Building good sleep hygiene habits can help you get a well night’s rest even if you don’t have an underlying medical condition that affects your sleep.
Sleep hygiene includes factors like getting regular exercise, avoiding caffeine late in the day and keeping bedrooms cool, dark and quiet at night.
Creating a Routine for Sleep Hygiene
Establishing a routine is one of the most important steps in improving your sleep hygiene. A regular schedule helps your body know when it’s time to go to bed, so you’ll be able to fall asleep easily and wake up refreshed.
The first step in creating a sleep routine is setting a regular sleep and wake time–and sticking to it! For example, if you want to go to bed at 10:00 pm every night and wake up at 6:00 am every morning, then set an alarm on your phone that will remind you when those times are approaching so that there’s no accidentally staying up late or sleeping past sunrise.
To improve your sleep hygiene and create a comfortable sleep environment, there are several things you can do:
- Make sure your bedroom is dark. Use blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out any light that might disturb your sleep.
- Keep the temperature cool but comfortable. If the room is too hot or cold, it can disrupt your sleep. Use a fan or heater as needed but avoid anything that makes noise.
- Use noise-canceling devices if necessary. If there are loud noises nearby, such as traffic or snoring, use earplugs or noise-canceling devices to help you sleep.
- Make your bedroom a comfortable and inviting space. Invest in comfortable bedding, pillows, and blankets to make your bed cozy and inviting
- Avoid using electronic devices before bedtime. The blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and make it harder to fall asleep.
By following these sleep hygiene tips, you can create a sleep environment that is comfortable, relaxing, and conducive to a good night’s rest. We also got a toolkit for sleep from Huberman Lab Podcast to help you: Toolkit for Sleep
Sleep Aids from Doctors
Sleep aids are medications that can be used to help you fall asleep. They’re often prescribed by doctors and may include:
- Melatonin, a hormone produced naturally by the body to regulate your internal clock. It’s available over-the-counter at health food stores and pharmacies.
- Antidepressants such as Trazodone or SSRIs like Prozac, which have sedative effects on the brain and body. These drugs are usually taken in small doses at bedtime for short-term use only; prolonged use can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms if abruptly stopped.
- Sleeping pills such as Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata–sleeping pills work by increasing GABA activity in your brain (GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter). They’re generally considered safe when taken as directed but may cause side effects such as drowsiness or dizziness upon waking up from sleep; some people also report having strange dreams after taking sleeping pills regularly for several weeks or months
The Impact of Sleep Hygiene on Mental Health
Sleep hygiene plays a crucial role in maintaining good mental health. Lack of sleep can worsen existing mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, and even cause new ones like stress and panic attacks. In fact, some researchers have dubbed sleep deprivation as the “silent killer” due to its severe impact on mental health.
On the other hand, mental health issues can also interfere with sleep, leading to sleep disturbances and affecting overall mood and daily life. This section provides helpful tips on how to manage mental health issues that may impact sleep, and also offers information on seeking professional support for any kind of mental health concern. Prioritizing sleep hygiene can go a long way in promoting better mental health and overall well-being.
Sleep Hygiene Tips
Here are some tips for improving your sleep hygiene:
- Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga before going to bed.
- Consider journaling before bedtime to release negative thoughts or emotions that might be keeping you awake.
- Try to maintain a positive mindset and reduce stress levels to improve your chances of falling asleep.
- Avoid consuming caffeine or alcohol in the evening, and don’t eat a large meal right before going to bed.
- Refrain from taking long naps during the day, especially if they last more than 30 minutes or two hours.
- Opt for reading instead of watching TV or playing video games if you have difficulty falling asleep. Electronic devices can be stimulating.
Some yoga nidra meditation can also support sleep, check those video out: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=yoga+nidra
Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for educational purposes only . It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice from qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of anything you have read on this blog post. If you have any concerns about your sleep or mental health, please consult your healthcare provider for proper treatment.