Good sleep hygiene doesn’t start when your head hits the pillow and end when you wake up. Sleep hygiene is the combined practices throughout the day and night that determine your quality of sleep. Maybe it seems obsessive to think of sleep hygiene as all-day actions, but when it comes to a healthy body and mind, nothing is as important as sleep.
Must Haves & Must Avoids of Good Sleep Hygiene
|Must Have||Good to Have||Must Avoid||Good to Avoid|
|Routine||Regular Exercise||Caffeine in Day & Evening||Checking Phon at Night|
|Early Bedtime||Blue Light Features on Devices||Napping in Evening||Exercise Before Bed|
|Natural Light in Day||Journal or Read Before Bed||Changing Sleep Hours||Staying in Bed When Unable to Sleep|
|Dim Light & Darkness in Evening & Night||Stretching & Breathing Exercises||Screen Time Before Bed||Alcohol & Nictoine|
|Quiet*||Bath or Shower Before Bed||Using Bed as Couch||Napping Without an Alarm|
|Comfortable Temperature*||Clean Room||Eating Before Bed||Changing Sleep Location|
Routine should be at the top of every sleep hygiene checklist. This means waking up and lying down to sleep at the same time each day. Meals, exercise, and screen time should also be at regular times. Going to bed at an appropriate time is an important part of routine. Most adults require 7-9 hours of sleep. Early to bed allows you enough time to reach 7-9 hours, and it maximizes the amount of darkness so that no sunrises will interrupt your sleep.
Proper environment is an immediate need for the best sleep possible. A cool, quiet, dark room is vital. Pay attention to how you wake up and what is waking you up. Covers thrown off the bed? Car horn startling you out of sleep? Making note of these things will help you figure out the ideal temperature and noise level for your sleep hygiene.
Good to Haves
The Good to Haves on your sleep hygiene checklist are related to your body and helping it relax and let go of any tension from the day to prepare for quality sleep: exercise, bath or shower before bed, journaling or reading, adjusting light on your devices. The goal here is to make yourself tired.
Maybe you haven’t considered journaling as a good practice for sleep hygiene, but it can help you organize your thoughts and resolve any issues that have been bothering you. Freeing your mind of these racing thoughts by journaling will help you stay relaxed and sleep.
We don’t want to sound like wet blankets by telling you to turn the TV or PlayStation off, but we should discuss a few items on your sleep hygiene checklist that you should steer clear of.
Caffeine during the day and evening should be avoided. It makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Similarly, try not to eat before bed. Dinner time 4 hours before sleep is best. Digestion takes energy. If your body’s working overtime, it is not relaxed enough for sleep.
Lying in our beds to relax makes sense: There is no safer, more comfortable place than our own beds. But if you’re lying in your bed after work on your phone, or watching Netflix in bed hours before sleep, you are actually harming your sleep hygiene. Try to avoid using your bed as a couch. Beds are meant for sleeping, and we need to condition our minds to switch to sleep mode when we are in them.
Good to Avoids
When we’re talking about Good to Avoid items, we’re talking about moderation. Exercise, for example, is great. But it takes your body a while to relax after a workout. For this reason, it’s best to avoid exercise before bed. Napping is great, but it’s important to set an alarm. It might be time to say goodbye to the 2-hour naps.
Do you wake up in the middle of the night and find it difficult to fall back asleep? It seems counterintuitive, but if you are tossing and turning, the best thing you can do for sleep is to get up! Consider making a cup of warm, caffeine-free tea and journaling or reading while you finish it. Go through your sleepy time activities again to tire your mind and body.
Sleep Hygiene Checklist
Our Sleep Hygiene Checklist below is broken up into actions to take and to avoid based on the time of day. Download it now and keep it on hand for a couple weeks to help you establish a healthy routine as habit and improve your sleep hygiene long-term.
What About Sleep Hygiene for Kids?
When it comes to good sleep hygiene, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Children need more sleep than adults, so routine and early bedtimes are even more important for your child’s sleep hygiene. You are reading this blog post because you recognize the importance of quality sleep. However, it’s difficult to convince children of the importance of sleep. Make a ritual of bed time to instill the importance of sleep. Download our Sleep Hygiene Checklist for Kids below and go through it with them each night.
Signs Your Bad Sleep Isn’t Connected to Sleep Hygiene
If you are able to check off a majority of these items on the sleep hygiene checklist but are still not getting good sleep, it’s possible there are deeper issues at play.
How long does it take a person to fall asleep? The average person falls asleep in about 15 minutes. Falling asleep immediately at night, on the couch watching TV, or driving in a car are signs of sleep deprivation, possibly caused by sleep apnea. Snoring is another common sign of apnea. If this is something you experience, speak to your primary care provider about a referral to a sleep specialist. They will be able to perform an at home sleep study to determine the cause of your sleep issues.
Maybe your problem is falling asleep altogether, or waking up well before your alarm clock. This could be the result of anxiety or stress. Again, try journaling before bed. It will relax your body and mind. If there is still no resolution, consider identifying a talk therapist that accepts your health insurance and scheduling an initial visit.
*Indow Inserts Promote Good Sleep Hygiene
Three of the most important factors for good sleep hygiene are comfort, quiet, and a dark environment. Unfortunately for many, these can be some of the most difficult and/or costly sleep conditions to achieve. If you are dealing with any of these problems with your windows, Indow offers Standard, Acoustic, and Sleep Panels, which are the solution to your temperature, noise, and light issues.
Check out all of the Indow product types to see which are the right fit for your windows.