Developing Good Sleep Hygiene

There is an ample amount of technology focused on how to get better sleep. There are apps that relax an active brain, trackers that tell you how much time you’ve slept, and even fancy devices that claim to alter your brain waves to help you fall asleep. With all the technology that surrounds sleep, one would think that sleep is a complicated process.

However, for those that wonder how to sleep better at night, I always recommend getting back to basics. The very core of a night of good sleep involves practicing good sleep hygiene. Let’s discuss some sleep hygiene tips for a how to improve sleep quality.

How To Sleep Better at Night Naturally

Timing Is Key

There’s no doubt that the human body thrives off of routine. The body clock (known as the circadian rhythm) helps us decide when to feel sleepy and awake, and by keeping this body clock operating in normal fashion, the process of sleeping becomes easier. To keep the clock tuned up, it is vital to wake and sleep at approximately the same time every day. In addition, it helps to give your brain a chance to wind down by performing a sleep routine each night. This should typically incorporate three or four relaxing activities that take a total of 20 minutes and are performed in the same way each night leading up to bedtime.

Strive for Comfort

Having a cozy sleep environment is critical to good sleep. This means ensuring your mattress and pillows keep you comfortable the entire night and that you do not wake up with any aches or pains. In addition, the temperature in the room should be cool, with most sleep experts recommending between 68 and 72 °F. Finally, avoid disruptions. While it may seem simple, it’s important to avoid having pets in the room and leaving devices on. To avoid noise, consider earplugs or turning your devices on do-not-disturb. And, during your regular day-to-day activities, limit caffeine, alcohol and nicotine whenever possible, so you are able to fall asleep at bedtime.

Avoid the Light

Artificial light can wreak havoc on your sleep because the brain can’t distinguish artificial light from sunlight. So, any light consumed from screens such as laptops or smartphones is a signal to your brain that it’s still daytime. The blue light from screens is particularly good at telling the brain not to secrete melatonin, your natural sleep hormone. To reduce the risk of throwing off your sleep cycle, be sure to get rid of the light at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime.

While technology certainly has its place for helping with a good night of sleep, don’t forget to unplug for your best rest. Remember that the simple stuff is often the most critical. Ensure you have established a solid foundation for a great night’s rest by perfecting your sleep hygiene!

About The Author

Dr. Sujay Kansagra Sujay Kansagra, MD is an associate professor at Duke University Medical Center, a paid contributor of the The Daily Doze and Mattress Firm's Sleep Health Expert. He is also the Program Director of the Pediatric Neurology Residency Program and Director of the Duke Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program. Dr. Kansagra is double board certified in both Child Neurology and Sleep Medicine. He has published over 30 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals and is the author of numerous book chapters and books on the topic of sleep, including My Child Won’t Sleep. He’s been featured on Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Bustle, SheKnows, Thrillist, CNN, and Reader’s Digest, among others and can be found regularly discussing sleep, medicine and education with his 129K+ Twitter followers via his accounts, @medschooladvice and @PedsSleepDoc. Best Night’s Sleep: Not just a sleep expert, but also an expert sleeper, Dr. Kansagra can sleep almost anywhere, thanks to years of sleep deprivation during medical school and residency call nights. But his best sleep is at home with his family, on a mattress he purchased at Mattress Firm long before he joined our team. He recently upgraded it with an adjustable base.

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