Have you ever wanted (desperately) to know how to get better sleep? You’re not alone. Tips for better sleep that actually work are like gold dust. We all want to know because not being able to get proper rest really is like torture. Luckily there’s a pretty straight-forward set of things you can do to increase the amount of sleep you get each night. It’s called sleep hygiene. Read on for everything you need to know.
What is sleep hygiene?
No, this isn’t about being physically clean before you go to bed; sleep hygiene refers to practices that eradicate the reasons for poor sleep and promote proper rest. These are behaviours that are recommended by experts so they’re definitely worth giving a go. However, if you’re really struggling with sleep and think it may be connected to medication you’re taking or other medical problems, be sure to speak to your doctor.
How to get a good night’s sleep: five practical sleep hygiene tips
- Get up at the same time every morning, and as much as possible, go to bed at the same time each night.
- Don’t give yourself too much time in bed (like 10–12 hours). If you’re having trouble sleeping it makes sense to try giving yourself longer to do so, but this can actually be counter-productive as it means you spend more time lying awake in bed, worrying about not being able to sleep. Instead force yourself to go to bed later and get up earlier.
- If you find yourself unable to get to sleep for more than 15 minutes, get up and go into another room. Do something that isn’t taxing (and doesn’t involve electronics), but will help tire you out. Try a jigsaw puzzle or alphabetising your books.
- Try and only use your bed at bedtime. Your brain needs to associate that space with rest and nothing else.
- Get into a good bedtime regime. For example, try having a bath and a warm milky drink before bed. Avoid anything caffeinated or very sugary in the few hours prior to trying to sleep as these substances are likely to keep you awake – you may even want to avoid them from 2pm onwards.
Good sleep hygiene: What does this mean for your bedroom layout?
Sleep hygiene can also be about the layout of your bedroom. Here are a few things to try to make this space conducive to a full night’s rest:
- Get blackout blinds to prevent sunlight infiltrating into the room – no need for an eye mask!
- Ensure your room isn’t too hot as this can prevent sleep. It shouldn’t be too cold either, but your temperature should naturally be a little cooler than it is during the day when trying to sleep.
- Make sure you eradicate noise as much as possible – unless you suffer from tinnitus, in which case, try a white noise machine.
- Remove any electronic items from your bedroom before sleep. The light they emit can really disturb your sleep.
Those are the key things you need to know when it comes to how to improve sleep. Try implementing this advice and while the full results are not going to be immediate, you are likely to see an improvement pretty soon. Good luck!
- Establish a regular sleeping schedule.
- Only use your bed at bedtime.
- Arrange your bedroom to make it conducive to sleep.