What Is Sleep Hygiene? | Sleep Foundation (2023)

Paying attention to sleep hygiene is one of the most straightforward ways that you can set yourself up for better sleep.

Strong sleep hygiene means having both a bedroom environment and daily routines that promote consistent, uninterrupted sleep. Keeping a stable sleep schedule, making your bedroom comfortable and free of disruptions, following a relaxing pre-bed routine, and building healthy habits during the day can all contribute to ideal sleep hygiene.

Every sleeper can tailor their sleep hygiene practices to suit their needs. In the process, you can harness positive habits to make it easier to sleep soundly throughout the night and wake up well-rested.

Why Is Sleep Hygiene Important?

Obtaining healthy sleep is important for both physical and mental health, improving productivity and overall quality of life. Everyone, from children to older adults, can benefit from better sleep, and sleep hygiene can play a key part in achieving that goal.

Research has demonstrated that forming good habits is a central part of health. Crafting sustainable and beneficial routines makes healthy behaviors feel almost automatic, creating an ongoing process of positive reinforcement. On the flip side, bad habits can become engrained even as they cause negative consequences.

Thankfully, humans have an impressive ability to make our habits serve our long-term interests. Building an environment and set of routines that promote our goals can really pay off.

Sleep hygiene encompasses both environment and habits, and it can pave the way for higher-quality sleep and better overall health.

Improving sleep hygiene has little cost and virtually no risk, making it an important part of a public health strategy to counteract the serious problems of insufficient sleep and insomnia in America.

Having trouble sleeping?

Call the Help Me Sleep Hotline at 1-833-I-CANT-SLEEP for a set of tips, meditations, and bedtime stories to help you get a good night’s rest.

What Are Signs of Poor Sleep Hygiene?

Having a hard time falling asleep, experiencing frequent sleep disturbances, and suffering daytime sleepiness are the most telling signs of poor sleep hygiene. An overall lack of consistency in sleep quantity or quality can also be a symptom of poor sleep hygiene.

How Do You Practice Good Sleep Hygiene?

Good sleep hygiene is all about putting yourself in the best position to sleep well each and every night.

(Video) What Is Sleep Hygiene?

Optimizing your sleep schedule, pre-bed routine, and daily routines is part of harnessing habits to make quality sleep feel more automatic. At the same time, creating a pleasant bedroom environment can be an invitation to relax and doze off.

A handful of tips can help in each of these areas, they aren’t rigid requirements. You can adapt them to fit your circumstances and create your own sleep hygiene checklist to help get the best sleep possible.

Set Your Sleep Schedule

Having a set schedule normalizes sleep as an essential part of your day and gets your brain and body accustomed to getting the full amount of sleep that you need.

  • Have a Fixed Wake-Up Time: Regardless of whether it’s a weekday or weekend, try to wake up at the same time since a fluctuating schedule keeps you from getting into a rhythm of consistent sleep.
  • Prioritize Sleep: It might be tempting to skip sleep in order to work, study, socialize, or exercise, but it’s vital to treat sleep as a priority. Calculate a target bedtime based on your fixed wake-up time and do your best to be ready for bed around that time each night.
  • Make Gradual Adjustments: If you want to shift your sleep times, don’t try to do it all in one fell swoop because that can throw your schedule out of whack. Instead, make small, step-by-step adjustments of up to an hour or two so that you can get adjusted and settle into a new schedule.
  • Don’t Overdo It With Naps: Naps can be a handy way to regain energy during the day, but they can throw off sleep at night. To avoid this, try to keep naps relatively short and limited to the early afternoon.

Follow a Nightly Routine

How you prepare for bed can determine how easily you’ll be able to fall asleep. A pre-sleep playbook including some of these tips can put you at ease and make it easier to get to fall asleep when you want to.

  • Keep Your Routine Consistent: Following the same steps each night, including things like putting on your pajamas and brushing your teeth, can reinforce in your mind that it’s bedtime.
  • Budget 30 Minutes For Winding Down: Take advantage of whatever puts you in a state of calm such as soft music, light stretching, reading, and/or relaxation exercises.
  • Dim Your Lights: Try to keep away from bright lights because they can hinder the production of melatonin, a hormone that the body creates to facilitate sleep.
  • Unplug From Electronics: Build in a 30-60 minute pre-bed buffer time that is device-free. Cell phones, tablets, and laptops cause mental stimulation that is hard to shut off and also generate blue light that may decrease melatonin production.
  • Test Methods of Relaxation: Instead of making falling asleep your goal, it’s often easier to focus on relaxation. Meditation, mindfulness, paced breathing, and other relaxation techniques can put you in the right mindset for bed.
  • Don’t Toss and Turn: It helps to have a healthy mental connection between being in bed and actually being asleep. For that reason, if after 20 minutes you haven’t gotten to sleep, get up and stretch, read, or do something else calming in low light before trying to fall asleep again.

Cultivate Healthy Daily Habits

It’s not just bedtime habits that play a part in getting good sleep. Incorporating positive routines during the day can support your circadian rhythm and limit sleep disruptions.

  • Get Daylight Exposure: Light, especially sunlight, is one of the key drivers of circadian rhythms that can encourage quality sleep.
  • Be Physically Active: Regular exercise can make it easier to sleep at night and also delivers a host of other health benefits.
  • Don’t Smoke: Nicotine stimulates the body in ways that disrupt sleep, which helps explain why smoking is correlated with numerous sleeping problems.
  • Reduce Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol may make it easier to fall asleep, but the effect wears off, disrupting sleep later in the night. As a result, it’s best to moderate alcohol consumption and avoid it later in the evening.
  • Cut Down on Caffeine in the Afternoon and Evening: Because it’s a stimulant, caffeine can keep you wired even when you want to rest, so try to avoid it later in the day. Also be aware if you’re consuming lots of caffeine to try to make up for lack of sleep.
  • Don’t Dine Late: Eating dinner late, especially if it’s a big, heavy, or spicy meal, can mean you’re still digesting when it’s time for bed. In general, any food or snacks before bed should be on the lighter side.
  • Restrict In-Bed Activity: To build a link in your mind between sleep and being in bed, it’s best to only use your bed for sleep with sex being the one exception.

Optimize Your Bedroom

A central component of sleep hygiene beyond just habits is your sleep environment. To fall asleep more easily, you want your bedroom to emanate tranquility.

While what makes a bedroom inviting can vary from one person to the next, these tips may help make it calm and free of disruptions:

  • Have a Comfortable Mattress and Pillow: Your sleeping surface is critical to comfort and pain-free sleep, so choose the best mattress and best pillow for your needs wisely.
  • Use Excellent Bedding: The sheets and blankets are the first thing you touch when you get into bed, so it’s beneficial to make sure they match your needs and preferences.
  • Set a Cool Yet Comfortable Temperature: Fine-tune your bedroom temperature to suit your preferences, but err on the cooler side (around 65 degrees fahrenheit).
  • Block Out Light: Use heavy curtains or an eye mask to prevent light from interrupting your sleep.
  • Drown Out Noise: Ear plugs can stop noise from keeping you awake, and if you don’t find them comfortable, you can try a white noise machine or even a fan to drown out bothersome sounds.
  • Try Calming Scents: Light smells, such as lavender, may induce a calmer state of mind and help cultivate a positive space for sleep.

Is Sleep Hygiene the Same For Everyone?

The basic concept of sleep hygiene — that your environment and habits can be optimized for better sleep — applies to just about everyone, but what ideal sleep hygiene looks like can vary based on the person.

For that reason, it’s worth testing out different adjustments to find out what helps your sleep the most. You don’t have to change everything at once; small steps can move you toward better sleep hygiene.

It’s also important to know that improving sleep hygiene won’t always resolve sleeping problems. People who have serious insomnia or sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea may benefit from better sleep hygiene, but other treatments are usually necessary as well.

(Video) Sleep Hygiene: 10 Effective Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

In other words, even though it may be beneficial, sleep hygiene alone isn’t a panacea. If you have long-lasting or severe sleeping problems or daytime sleepiness, it’s best to talk with a doctor who can recommend the most appropriate course of treatment.

  • Was this article helpful?
  • YesNo

About Our Editorial Team

What Is Sleep Hygiene? | Sleep Foundation (1)
Eric Suni

Staff Writer

Eric Suni has over a decade of experience as a science writer and was previously an information specialist for the National Cancer Institute.

What Is Sleep Hygiene? | Sleep Foundation (2)
Dr. Nilong Vyas

Pediatrician

(Video) Sleep Hygiene

MD

Dr. Vyas is a pediatrician and founder of Sleepless in NOLA. She specializes in helping parents establish healthy sleep habits for children.

References

+7 Sources

FAQs

What does the sleep foundation do? ›

Mission: The National Sleep Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public health and safety through public understanding of sleep and sleep disorders, and by supporting public education, sleep-related research, and advocacy.

How reliable is the sleep foundation? ›

SleepFoundation.org is a trusted source of accurate and unbiased information about sleep-related topics.

How long should you sleep a night according to National Sleep Foundation? ›

Adults: Between the ages of 18 and 64, adults should aim for seven to nine hours of nightly sleep. If you're older than 65, you may need a little less: seven to eight hours is recommended.

What is sleep hygiene example? ›

Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature. Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smart phones, from the bedroom. Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.

How much sleep do you need by age? ›

How Much Sleep Do I Need?
Age GroupRecommended Hours of Sleep Per Day
Newborn0–3 months14–17 hours (National Sleep Foundation)1 No recommendation (American Academy of Sleep Medicine)2
Teen13–18 years8–10 hours per 24 hours2
Adult18–60 years7 or more hours per night3
61–64 years7–9 hours1
5 more rows
14 Sept 2022

How many hours should I sleep? ›

National Sleep Foundation guidelines1 advise that healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Babies, young children, and teens need even more sleep to enable their growth and development. People over 65 should also get 7 to 8 hours per night.

Who pays for sleep Foundation? ›

The foundation's programs are funded by corporate and individual contributions, and through its partnerships with corporations and government entities. Its recent revenues are in the $3.5 million range.

Who is behind sleep Foundation? ›

Dr. Nilong Vyas is the mother of two well-rested boys and has been putting children to sleep professionally since 2014! She is a firm believer in the value of sleep (for the well-being of both children and their parents) and the need for healthy sleep habits.

Is the sleep foundation the same as the National Sleep Foundation? ›

Our Roots. A OneCare Media brand. SleepFoundation.org was acquired from the National Sleep Foundation in 2019 and is no longer affiliated with the non-profit organization. To learn more about the National Sleep Foundation, visit their website.

Is 5 hours of sleep OK for one night? ›

But five hours of sleep out of a 24-hour day isn't enough, especially in the long term. According to a 2018 study of more than 10,000 people, the body's ability to function declines if sleep isn't in the seven- to eight-hour range.

Why do I wake up after 5 hours of sleep? ›

This can be a natural, normal waking mechanism. Notice that in many cases you're waking up during a dream in the morning. Adding sunlight is another cue for you to wake up. In addition, the lowest point in the circadian cycle is called the singularity.

Why do I wake up after 2 hours sleep? ›

Reasons this might happen include drinking caffeine or alcohol late in the day, a poor sleep environment, a sleep disorder, or another health condition. When you can't get back to sleep quickly, you won't get enough quality sleep to keep you refreshed and healthy.

What are signs of poor sleep hygiene? ›

What are the signs of poor sleep hygiene?
  • Delayed sleep onset (struggling to fall asleep)
  • Frequent sleep disturbances.
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • Lack of consistency in sleep quality or quantity.
  • Moodiness.
  • Irritability.
  • Low mood.
  • Forgetfulness.

Is CBD gummy good for sleeping? ›

While scientists need to carry out more studies into the use of CBD gummies for sleep, ongoing research indicates the following findings: One study found that a 160-mg dose of CBD may improve sleep in people with insomnia. However, CBD was only effective at this dosage and did not help individuals fall asleep.

Is it OK to sleep in bare minerals makeup? ›

Naturally, bareMinerals recommends their range and have even trademarked the tagline 'make-up so pure, you can sleep in it'.

Does sleep hygiene work? ›

Sleep hygiene is a popular set of behavioral changes and suggestions that are intended to make sleep easier and more efficient. Though sleep hygiene may be helpful for those with poor bedtime habits and mild sleep difficulties, there are few if any studies demonstrating its efficacy for chronic insomnia.

Videos

1. Sleep Hygiene - How to Sleep Better!
(simpleshow foundation)
2. How does Sleep Work and WHY do we need it?
(Sleep Is The Foundation)
3. The brain benefits of deep sleep -- and how to get more of it | Dan Gartenberg
(TED)
4. Sleep & Rest II B Sc Nursing 1st II Foundations of Nursing II Manish Sir II
(Online Nursing Classes)
5. A walk through the stages of sleep | Sleeping with Science, a TED series
(TED)
6. Nursing Fundamentals Rest and Sleep Unit 14 F18
(Tami Davis)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Fredrick Kertzmann

Last Updated: 02/19/2023

Views: 5610

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (46 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Fredrick Kertzmann

Birthday: 2000-04-29

Address: Apt. 203 613 Huels Gateway, Ralphtown, LA 40204

Phone: +2135150832870

Job: Regional Design Producer

Hobby: Nordic skating, Lacemaking, Mountain biking, Rowing, Gardening, Water sports, role-playing games

Introduction: My name is Fredrick Kertzmann, I am a gleaming, encouraging, inexpensive, thankful, tender, quaint, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.