“Sleep hygiene” is what experts call the habits you cultivate that help you sleep well at night. And believe it or not, your sleep environment is as much a part of your sleep hygiene as your bedtime routine or your daytime stress relief habits. In this first part my newest blog series, we’ll have a look at why it matters that you improve your sleep environment – how it helps you get a better night sleep, and how it encourages well-being.
Sleep Hygiene and Insomnia
If you’re having trouble sleeping, sleep hygiene can make a big difference for you. Sleep hygiene research shows that sleep hygiene isn’t a primary cause of insomnia. So a messy bedroom by itself probably isn’t what’s keeping you up… but if you’re having trouble sleeping, a clean and restful sleep environment can be part of the solution that soothes you to dreamland.
Quality sleep hygiene also extends to the way you manage nighttime waking. In general, if you can’t go back to sleep, it’s best to leave the bedroom and do something relaxing – take a bath, read a book, or listen to soothing music. That way, your body associates your bedroom with sleep rather than with lying awake. Keeping the floor clean and the surroundings pleasant make it easy make your way back to bed feeling drowsy and peaceful. Stubbing your toe or stressing over clutter is the perfect way to interrupt your brain’s process of getting ready to sleep.
Sleep and Well-Being
It make sense that we can only sleep when we’re feeling relaxed and peaceful – or are so tired it’s impossible to stay awake. Our bodies are rigged with a hormonal fight-or-flight response to danger that triggers physical changes – heightened blood pressure, respiration, and alertness. People who fall asleep in dangerous circumstances don’t tend to live very long, do they? So the need for a feeling of peace at bedtime is literally hardwired into the human brain and body. A bedroom that feels secure, comfortable, and ordered tells your inner self that it’s safe to feel restful and to fall asleep.
How clean is your bedroom? Do you enjoy sleeping in it?