Sleep is essential for survival, but consistently getting a good night’s sleep is a challenge for many. In fact, the Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention states more than 35% of American adults get less than the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
“Having good sleep hygiene, which includes your daily routine and sleep environment, can help you experience better quality sleep and allow you to reap the health and well‑being benefits that come from sleep,” said Nicholas Gaffney, manager of neurodiagnostics and Samaritan Sleep Services.
Good sleep hygiene starts with healthy daily habits, said Gaffney, including:
- Eating well, including limiting sugar and soda.
- Exercising regularly.
- Limiting caffeine after 1 p.m.
- Limiting alcohol, which may help you fall asleep but too much can cause sleep fragmentation and impact sleep quality.
- Avoiding anything with a blue light — TVs, tablets, computers and phones — 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. Your optic nerve picks up the blue light and signals to your body that the sun is out and time to be awake. This also eliminates stimulation so that your brain can produce the melatonin necessary for sleep.
- Setting a regular sleep schedule — including a bedtime and wake up time — and stick to it. While it’s tempting to sleep in on a Saturday, it will throw off your sleep schedule and by Monday morning you’ll be in a sleep deficit.
Where you sleep is also important. Here are a few ways to ensure your sleep environment contributes to a successful night’s sleep:
- Keep your bedroom clean and clutter free.
- Keep your bedroom as dark as possible.
- Turn your phone off at bedtime or put it in do-not-disturb mode so that you are not awakened by noisy or bright notifications.
- Do not let your pets sleep in bed with you. This is a tough one for pet lovers but our furry friends are often what keep us from a good night’s sleep.
For more sleep hygiene tips, visit sleepfoundation.org/sleep‑hygiene.