The term “sleep hygiene” is thrown around a great deal in sleep research circles, but it’s often poorly defined. Here, we’ll take a look at exactly what sleep hygiene is and what good sleep hygiene can do for you.
Understanding Sleep Hygiene
Hygiene, or hygenics, refers to the practices conducive to good health or to the science of studying practices that can preserve health. Sleep hygiene, then, is those things we can do to protect our quality of sleep and thus improve our overall health and well-being.
How well you sleep is related to what you do before you sleep, your mental state, what you put into your body, and your daytime habits. Proper sleep hygiene—the practices that can help you sleep well—encompasses a broad range of habits:
- Stress-reduction activities like journaling or meditation,
- Maintenance of a quiet, relaxing bedroom environment that encourages sleep,
- A bedtime routine that promotes relaxation and sleepiness, and
- Proper handling of night-time episodes of wakefulness.
Good sleep hygiene is a topic that’s both broad and deep, and that encompasses a plethora of research studies on sleep, sleepiness, and sleep quality. It’s worth more than a single blog post, so this blog is the first in a series of four on how to cultivate good sleep hygiene and what that good sleep hygiene can do for you.
To continue reading the series, check out my blogs on: Your Sleep Schedule, Before Bed, and What to Do When You Wake Up at Night. You can also check out my guest blog on The Health Benefits of Proper Sleep Hygiene.