Tired of feeling tired? Or maybe you just want a better night’s sleep? You’re not alone.
A survey conducted by the Sleep Health Foundation found that nearly one in two Australians agree they’re not getting enough sleep.
A simple, effective way to start turning things around in bed is to make the effort to whip your sleep hygiene into shape.
What is sleep hygiene?
In a nutshell, sleep hygiene refers to the habits, rituals and routines that have an impact on whether or not you have a good night’s sleep.
So good sleep hygiene means you’re doing things that promote better sleep, while poor sleep hygiene means your habits aren’t conducive to getting a good night’s rest.
Inadequate habits can lead to sleep debt
, which your body then needs to work to recover from.
Is it only night-time habits that matter?
Night-time or pre-bed habits do play an important role in sleep hygiene, but that’s not the only time of the day where the things you do – or don’t do – can impact the quality of your sleep.
In fact, even first thing in the morning there are habits you can put in place to help you have a restful night in bed, at the other end of the day.
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How can I get a good night's sleep? - Ask a naturopath
Healthy sleep-hygiene habits checklist
Here are 5 healthy habits to set your day up so that you’re on the right track to get a good night’s sleep:
1. Wake up at the same time every day
Even on weekends, and regardless of how much sleep you’ve had. Compared to sticking to a regular bedtime, a regular waking time is much more effective for keeping your body clock, or circadian rhythm, on track, which means you’ll find it easier to fall asleep at night and will be more likely to wake up feeling refreshed.
2. Avoid daytime naps
Or at the very least, keep them short and sweet. Not only is it scientifically proven that 10-minute naps are more invigorating than 30-minute ones, daytime napping adds time to your 24-hour sleep cycle, delaying when you’ll feel like falling asleep at night, which has a knock-on effect the next day.
3. Reserve your bedroom for sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep relies, in part, on your brain understanding that being in bed means being asleep.
So when you hang out in your bedroom to watch TV, read a book, catch up on social media or chat on the phone, you risk training your mind to think otherwise.
4. Establish a relaxing night-time routine
Sleep experts agree that making a conscious effort to do things to wind down in the hour before bed encourages a good night’s sleep. Just remember: your routine should be relaxing (think reading or having a bath), rather than agitating (think looking at a screen or having a deep and meaningful chat).
5. Get out of bed if you can’t sleep
If you wake up in the middle of the night, set yourself a 30-minute limit for falling back to sleep. And if you’re still awake after half-an-hour, get out of bed and go into another room to sit quietly with the lights off.
Even better, tell yourself you need to stay awake while you’re sitting there. It’s a reverse-psychology tactic that can help to induce sleepiness.
Understanding your sleep patterns and bad habits is the first step to improving your sleep hygiene. Try to follow these tips in order to promote good sleep patterns and you should feel rested in no time.