Forget “clean eating” I mean, what does that even mean anyways? If we’re going to get all hygienic and sanitary about our health how about “clean sleeping”? Wash yo’ sheets! Ha! No, but for realsies, sleep hygiene is a thing and attending to this area of your life can help you feel more rested and energetic so listen up! It might be time to “clean” up your sleep habits 😉
Sleep hygiene is defined as having daily routines paired with a bedroom environment that promotes uninterrupted and consistent sleep (SleepFoundation.org).
These don’t have to be huge, schedule-altering changes to your routine, it can be easy to have a transformative impact on your health. Sleep is a vital time for your body to recover, reset and re-energize.
Routines that are both beneficial and sustainable are going to have the biggest impact on your health and luckily humans are generally very good at forming habits that can benefit our future selves. Here are some tips for creating good sleep habits:
- Set a specific wake-up time and follow-up by figuring out what time you need to head to bed to get around 6-8 hours of sleep per night.
- Make sleep a priority
- Take small steps to adjust sleeping times to avoid throwing yourself off too much
- Keep naps short and in the early afternoon.
Having a nightly routine is also beneficial to your sleep hygiene. By repeating the same actions every night before bed, you can train your brain triggering the release of sleep hormones because your body will subconsciously know that these routines are done before sleep. Some tips for getting the most out of your nightly routine include:
- Being consistent – This is the biggest key
- Give yourself at least 30 minutes to wind down before bed
- Unplug from your devices and dim the lights, these can stimulate you to stay awake.
- Try out a few relaxation methods such as
- If you haven’t gotten to sleep in over 20 minutes, it is helpful to get up instead of tossing and turning; you can use this time to do some more relaxation techniques!
Finally, the bedroom should be for sleeping and little else. In college, especially in dorms, it can be very difficult to separate your workspace from your bedroom however, a good bedroom for sleep hygiene is still possible, here’s how:
- Avoid doing work in your bed, again train your mind to think of this as a restful place.
- Try to keep the temperature cool
- Reduce light and noise exposure as much as possible
- Make your bed as comfortable as you can by choosing the best bedding for your individual body’s needs.
Good sleep hygiene can provide many benefits to your body and it’s ability to fight infection and recover, and your mental health. It’s important to always remember that sleep hygiene won’t look the same for everyone and may take a bit of trial and error. You and your body are worth it!