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Sleep Hygiene: Clean up Your Sleep Habits in 10 Easy Steps

You’ve heard of eating clean, how about sleeping clean or “Sleep Hygiene?” For something we spend one-third of our lives doing, most people have a limited knowledge when it comes to sleep. Sleep Hygiene is defined by the National Sleep Association as “a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness.” Suffering from dirty sleep? Clean it up with these quick tips!

Don’t make us scream about screens

You’ve heard it before, so let’s get it out of the way: keep the blue light out of your sleeping sanctuary. Consider leaving your phone charging in another room. Do we do this? No! Do we recommend it? Absolutely!

"But I thought you said no light"

This may seem counterintuitive, but experts say, “Natural light keeps your internal clock on a healthy sleep-wake cycle. So let in the light first thing in the morning and get out of the office for a sun break during the day.”

Goldilocks your environment

Get the temperature, light, scent, and sounds just right. Consider using a white noise machine, an oil diffuser, or investing in blackout shades and keeping your room between 60-67° for the best sleep.

REMember the benefits of REM

All sleep was not created equal. REM sleep, or deep sleep, “helps to boost immune function, support cardiac health, and control stress and anxiety.”

Meditation and sleep

You’ve heard it from your yoga teacher, now you’ll hear it from us: Meditation can help with everything from a rude boss to regulating your sleep cycle. Apps like Simple Habit and the Calm app offer free guided meditation.

Work out to work on your sleep

Exercise can offer a slew of benefits to enhance your sleep. A quick daily workout can help increase sleep quality, duration and help alleviate insomnia overall.

Avoid heavy foods before bed

Seems self-explanatory, but let your body focus on going to sleep instead of digesting that greasy pizza you ate as a late-night snack.

Sleep-inducing foods

If you really can’t help yourself and you NEED a before bed snack, try one of these sleep-inducing goodies. Healthline lists foods like chamomile, turkey, almonds, and milk for their ability to promote healthy sleep.

Use your bed for sleep only

If you’re guilty of WFB (working from bed), don’t worry you’re not alone. If there was an anonymous group for people who love to respond to emails from bed, I’d be their first member! However, your bed should only be used for sleep and one other activity *winky face* if you catch our drift.

Avoid the cortisol

This seems like an obvious one, but for optimal sleep avoid stressful activities like overdue fights with your SO, that stressful true crime series you’ve been binging, or any activity that’s going to get the cortisol secretions going. Instead, opt for a relaxing book — maybe that career development book you’ve been putting off that will lull you into the ultimate sleep.

With these tips and tricks, you should be armed with what you need for 8 hours of quality sleep. That said, we’re not medical experts and don’t claim to have the key to unlock the shuteye you deserve. If you didn’t already feel guilty enough about all the scrolling you do around bedtime (don’t worry, us too!) check out Psychology Today’s Sleep Hygiene Test and learn more ways you’re doing it wrong! Happy sleep to you, until we meet again!

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Vanessa Kahn



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