Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for our overall health and wellbeing, but many of us neglect this crucial aspect of self-care. With the demands of modern life, it can be challenging to make sleep a priority, but with a few simple changes to our sleep hygiene habits, we can improve the quality of our sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and energized.
In this article, we’ll explore ten points to consider when it comes to sleep hygiene and how you can incorporate them into your routine to optimize your sleep.
Why do you need a sleep hygiene checklist?
Having good sleep hygiene is important for getting quality and restful sleep. A sleep hygiene checklist can be useful for ensuring that you are practicing good sleep habits and making any necessary adjustments to your sleep routine.
It can also help identify any behaviors or habits that may be disrupting your sleep and provide guidance on how to improve them. A sleep hygiene checklist can serve as a reminder to establish a consistent sleep schedule, create a relaxing sleep environment, avoid stimulating activities before bedtime, and limit the use of electronic devices before sleep.
Here are six reasons you should have a sleeping checklist;
- Helps you establish a consistent bedtime routine
- Ensures that your sleep environment is conducive to restful sleep
- Helps you identify and eliminate habits that may be negatively affecting your sleep
- Allows you to track your sleep patterns and make adjustments accordingly
- Helps reduce the risk of developing sleep disorders and other health problems
- Promotes overall health and wellbeing by improving the quality of your sleep
The Importance of Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene refers to the habits and practices that are conducive to getting a good night’s sleep. It encompasses everything from your bedtime routine to your sleep environment and is essential for ensuring that you get the restorative sleep your body needs.
Poor sleep hygiene can lead to a range of health problems, including fatigue, mood disturbances, cognitive impairment, and an increased risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
By prioritizing sleep hygiene, you can improve your overall health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of developing these and other health problems.
The 10 Point Sleep Hygiene Checklist
1) Stick to a consistent sleep schedule
Research shows that sticking to a consistent sleep schedule is crucial for getting high-quality sleep. When you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, your body’s circadian rhythm adjusts accordingly, making it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up feeling rested in the morning.
One study found that participants who went to bed and woke up at the same time every day had better sleep quality than those who had irregular sleep schedules. The study also found that participants who maintained a consistent sleep schedule were less likely to experience daytime fatigue and had improved cognitive performance. So, it is a must point for your sleep hygiene checklist.
2) Create a relaxing bedtime routine
Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine can help signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.
One way to create a calming bedtime routine is to engage in relaxing activities such as reading a book, taking a warm bath or shower, or practicing deep breathing exercises. These activities can help reduce stress and promote relaxation, making it easier to fall asleep.
3) Make your sleep environment conducive to sleep
Creating a sleep-conducive environment can lead to better sleep quality and duration. A dark, quiet, and cool environment can help promote sleep. Excess light, noise, and heat can all interfere with sleep, so it is essential to minimize these disruptions in your bedroom.
So, ensure your sleep environment is dark, quiet, cool, and comfortable. Consider investing in a comfortable mattress, pillows, and bedding.
4) Limit exposure to electronic devices before bedtime
Numerous studies have shown that exposure to blue light from electronic devices before bedtime can negatively impact sleep. One study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that exposure to blue light from electronic devices suppresses the production of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, making it more difficult to fall asleep and disrupting the natural sleep-wake cycle. Read Study
To improve sleep quality, it is recommended to limit exposure to electronic devices before bedtime, ideally for at least an hour before going to sleep. This allows the body to naturally wind down and prepare for sleep. Another must point for sleep hygiene checklist.
5) Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime
Consuming caffeine and alcohol before bedtime can disrupt the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and negatively impact sleep quality.
There are studies published, but I believe it’s logical, you become more alert after consuming caffeine so how can you sleep with alertness!!!
Therefore, it is important to avoid consuming caffeine and alcohol in the hours leading up to bedtime to promote restful sleep. By making this simple change to your sleep hygiene habits, you can improve the overall quality of your sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and energized. Make sure this must be in your sleep hygiene checklist.
Avoid caffeine consumption 4-5 hrs before bedtime.
6) Exercise regularly
Regular exercise can help regulate the sleep-wake cycle by increasing the production of the hormone melatonin, which helps promote sleep. Also, exercise can reduce stress and anxiety, which are common causes of sleep problems.
7) Avoid large meals before bedtime
Eating a large meal before bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep and may cause discomfort during the night.
It is recommended to finish eating at least 2-3 hours before bedtime to allow enough time for digestion and to avoid any discomfort during the night.
8) Manage stress
One study published in the journal Sleep Medicine found that participants who engaged in a stress management program showed significant improvements in sleep quality compared to those who did not participate in the program. The study also found that participants who practiced stress management techniques experienced fewer awakenings during the night and reported feeling more rested upon waking.
Stress can interfere with sleep, so it’s important to find healthy ways to manage it, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises.
9) Avoid naps in daytime
Napping during the day can make it more difficult to fall asleep at night and can lead to nighttime awakenings, which can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle.
To avoid daytime napping, it’s important to establish a consistent sleep schedule and stick to it. This can help regulate your body’s sleep-wake cycle and promote healthy sleep habits.
If you find yourself feeling drowsy during the day, try engaging in physical activity or taking a short walk instead of napping.
10) Make sure you follow correct sleep positions
Finally, in the sleep hygiene checklist, sleep in a better position. Sleeping in an improper position can lead to discomfort, aches, and pains, which can disturb your sleep and cause sleep deprivation.
The best sleep position is considered to be sleeping on your back. This position allows your head, neck, and spine to rest in a neutral position, reducing the risk of developing pain or discomfort. Sleeping on your back also helps to prevent acid reflux and heartburn, as it keeps your head elevated above your stomach.
Recap & Bonus tips for better sleep
By following these micro habits you can improve your quality of sleep;
- Limiting screen time before bedtime
- Exercising regularly but not too close to bedtime
- Eating a balanced diet
- Avoiding naps during the day
- Investing in a comfortable mattress and pillows
- Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine
- Using your bed only for sleeping
- Avoiding bright light exposure before bedtime
- Managing stress and anxiety
- Seeking medical help if you have persistent sleep problems
Recommended sleep by age
Here’s a table showing how much sleep is recommended by age, based on research by the National Sleep Foundation:
|Age Range||Recommended Sleep Duration|
|Newborns (0-3 months)||14-17 hours|
|Infants (4-11 months)||12-15 hours|
|Toddlers (1-2 years)||11-14 hours|
|Preschoolers (3-5 years)||10-13 hours|
|School-aged Children (6-13 years)||8-10 hours|
|Teenagers (14-17 years)||7-9 hours|
|Young Adults (18-25 years)||7-9 hours|
|Adults (26-64 years)||7-9 hours|
|Older Adults (65+ years)||7-9 hours|
Incorporating these ten points into your sleep hygiene routine as a checklist, can help you optimize your sleep and improve your overall health and wellbeing.
By making sleep a priority and taking steps to create a conducive sleep environment, you can wake up feeling refreshed and energized, ready to tackle whatever the day may bring.
“There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it.”
Take Care Good Night💫☀
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