Sure, you always brush your teeth and comb your hair before stepping out into the world, but what about before you go to sleep at night? Sleep hygiene is something that is important for all people, but it’s not something that many people take as seriously as they should. Unlike your day-to-day hygiene, which usually has to do with your physical appearance and cleanliness, sleep hygiene is related to things like relaxation, clean air and a strict sleep schedule that help to leave you feeling well-rested come morning.
To improve your sleep hygiene, first begin by creating a sustainable sleep pattern that leaves you feeling tired in the evening and rested throughout the day. Don’t go to bed at drastically different times, as this can throw off your so-called internal clock and confuse your body. Try to set an approximate bedtime for yourself, at least during the week, and avoid napping too late in the day.
You can help your body to get ready for sleep by creating relaxing nighttime rituals that your brain associates with sleep. Avoid using the phone, computer or even the television an hour or so before bed, as these stimulating types of technology leave your mind racing and your eyes feeling strained. Instead, take a warm bath or shower, drink a cup of decaffeinated tea, or even read a few chapters of a good book to relax. Many people also enjoy doing a relaxing yoga flow or taking a long walk before bed to loosen the muscles (although strenuous exercise like running or lifting weights should be left for the morning and afternoon).
Finally, create a clean, relaxing atmosphere in your bedroom that is conducive to sleep. Keep your space clutter free, both in regards to daily clutter and excess furniture, which can make your bedroom feel cramped and overwhelming. Instead, limit your furniture to only the essentials and improve the air quality with an HVAC system, air purifier or even just an open window.