If you’re like most people, all you at night when you to bed is to sleep better.
Sleep hygiene is a crucial factor in not only falling asleep but also staying asleep. Good sleep hygiene helps you wake up refreshed and rejuvenated.
What is sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene refers to the environment and behaviors surrounding our bedtime.
If you combine all the activities you do right before sleep, you’ll have a good picture of what your sleep hygiene is.
Unfortunately, most of us have stuck with poor sleep hygiene for years. We go to bed late, eat late at night, and pay little attention to our bedroom environment.
The good news is that if you want to sleep better, the fastest fix is to re-engineer your sleep hygiene.
How to improve sleep hygiene
If you want to improve your sleep hygiene, you’ll need to pay attention to what happens to all your five senses right before bed.
How does your environment impact what you see, what you hear, what you feel, what your taste — right before bed?
Improving sleep hygiene is like any important habit you’d like to develop: it takes a lot of baby steps. But these baby steps can lead to significant changes in the quality of sleep.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways you can improve your sleep hygiene so you sleep better.
When we have the right temperature, not only do we sleep well, we also sleep longer. This because our body’s temperature because of our body’s sleep cycle and rhythm follows that of our body temperature.
Why is room temperature important? If temperatures are high, we are more awake. If temperatures are low, we are more sleepy. It’s as simple as that.
An important sleep hygiene tip is to make sure that the temperature in your room is neither too cold nor too warm. The temperature for our bedrooms needs to between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for us to rest well.
Part of having a good temperature and feeling good is to improve the air circulation in your room. Don’t be afraid to open the windows, if you have to for a brief moment to clear out stuffed out air.
Also, humidifiers and dehumidifiers can improve temperature by controlling humidity. This can be helpful in the summertime.
Controlling what we see right before bed is crucial if we want to improve sleep hygiene. Lights. The biggest factor for most of us is light.
Several studies have shown that bedroom light can affect sleep quality.
In general, stay away from blue light at night. Blue light stimulates attention and energy – something you don’t need when you want to fall asleep.
If you cannot have a dark bedroom while you sleep, consider using red rights. Red lights, unlike blue lights, can help influence your circadian rhythm and stave off melatonin.
Another way to block out the impact of light is to wear a sleep mask.
The reality is a sleep mask can be anything that helps to cover your eyes while you sleep. Most of them are lightweight and can easily wrap around your head because it has elastic bands.
If you experience jet lag, the reverse is true. Exposing yourself to light can help realign your circadian system.
To improve our sleep hygiene, what we hear before we sleep is also important. Let me explain.
For starters, avoid all loud noises if you want to sleep better. Most people cannot sleep in loud environments. This is especially true if you have a partner who can’t stop snoring.
If that’s you, consider using white noise to block out distractions and sleep faster.
A recent study published in the Journal of Caring Sciences reported white noise can help improve sleep. White noise can help mask environmental noises, improving sleep, and maintaining sleep.
But the reason sound is so critical goes beyond that.
A good rest depends on how well your brain waves slow down. This is why the initial 90 minutes after falling asleep (a stage is known as Rapid Eye Movement) is so important. The kind of sound around us can impact these stages.
Take, for example, listening to music while sleeping.
In one study, researchers studied 50 adults with chronic insomnia to understand the effects of music on sleep quality. Researchers split the participants into two groups: 25 to the music group and the other 25 to a control group.
Participants in the music group listened to soothing music for 45 min at nocturnal sleep time. The control group did not.
It turns out that the group that listened to music significantly increased their rested state during sleep. They also shortened the time their brain waves shut down.
Research has shown that listening to music while sleeping can help people to sleep.
The closest touch we get regarding sleep is in two main categories: the materials we wear (bedtime sleepwear) and the materials we touch (or bedding).
The reason what we wear is important is not because of texture, but because of our body’s temperature. What we wear affects our body’s temperature because of our body’s sleep cycle and rhythm follows that of our body temperature.
The key is to choose the right materials. Avoid synthetic material because they hold more heat and make you warmer. Instead, choose breathable materials can help you sleep better. Here are a few to consider:
- Wool: Wool might seem like a good idea on the surface as it keeps you relatively warm. However, over 7 to 8 hours of sleep, it holds a lot of heat and causes your body temperature to rise. This can also cause itching or irritation on the skin.
- Cotton: Cotton is a favorite for many people. Because it’s light in weight, cotton does a great job of improving air circulation on the body. However, pajamas or sleepwear materials made of cotton might not be enough to keep you warm in the colder season because it’s light. And because it absorbs moisture, it can make you even colder when you sweat.
- Silk: The main advantage of sleepwear made of silk is that it can help maintain your body temperature. In cold temperatures, it helps warm you up, and in warm temperatures, it helps cool you down.
In addition to the right type of materials, make sure what you wear is the right fit and feel. Too tight and things can get uncomfortable and even dangerous for your health.
In one study, researchers investigated male partners of couples looking for infertility treatment at a fertility center over 17 years (2000–2017). They found that men who often wore boxers had higher sperm concentration and total count, and lower FSH levels, compared to men who did not.
The smell in our sleeping environment can contribute immensely to how relaxed we are. Our bodies need to wind down every night. And part of winding down is staying relaxed.
You can consider using diffusers. The good scents from diffusers help to improve relaxation.
You can buy a diffuser that will frequently spray refreshing oils or scents to make your room pleasant. Caution: do not use candles in any way for this.