Developing good sleep habits is essential to improving sleep hygiene . Bringing about lasting changes to behavior throughout the day and, most importantly, in the hours leading up to bed can significantly improve the quality and quantity of a person’s sleep. Start by avoiding bad habits like sleep procrastination and sleeping in on weekends. These practices disrupt sleep and interfere with circadian rhythms . If you are already sleep-deprived, you first need to repay sleep debt .
To practice good sleep hygiene, start by establishing a regular sleep schedule . It only requires going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Avoid sleeping less during the week and compensating on weekends. Allow yourself to wake up naturally without an alarm clock. Getting enough exposure to natural sunlight during the day can help people stay in tune with natural circadian rhythms . People who struggle to get enough sleep at night or just enjoy an afternoon snooze can incorporate controlled daytime napping into their schedule. But they should avoid napping if they have trouble falling asleep at night. It helps to limit daytime naps to 20-30 minutes and to avoid sleeping after 15:00 because a late nap will reduce sleep pressure and make it hard to fall asleep.
A stable bedtime routine helps the mind transition from waking into sleep. A routine is a simple sequence of activities that signal that it’s time to go to bed. Avoid doing any work or watching television right before bed. The activities should be calm and relaxing and could include dimming the lights, listening to music, meditating, reading a book, or just talking to a loved one. Taking a warm bath or shower before bed also helps body temperature drop, which is necessary to initiate sleep.
A healthy, active lifestyle can help maintain sleep quality. There are many factors in a healthy lifestyle, but major ones include good nutrition , regular physical activity , maintaining psychological well-being , and stable social connections. It is particularly important to avoid substances that can interfere with sleep, including stimulants like caffeine and nicotine, alcohol , and sleeping pills .
An appropriate sleep environment is free of distractions and disruptions. The ideal sleeping environment is dark, quiet, cool, and free of screens. Blackout blinds work well, but an eye mask can also do the job. Earplugs can avoid unwanted awakenings due to noise. A good mattress and the right pillows can help maintain sleep.