When you think of the word ‘hygiene’, what comes to mind? I imagine it’s something along the lines of wearing deodorant, brushing your teeth, changing your underwear, showering or bathing daily, and generally not stinking. However, I’m willing to bet that sleep didn’t come to mind. As a matter of fact, sleep hygiene is just as important, if not more so, than controlling your BO. Sleep hygiene refers to the conditions that allow you to achieve restorative, consistent, and uninterrupted sleep. Getting enough good quality sleep plays an important role in your physical and mental health, and lets you feel your best, so it is extremely important to prioritize healthy sleep habits. Below are some tips and tricks on how to be as sleep hygienic as possible!
Sleep Hygiene Cheat Sheet
- Get plenty of exercise!
- Reduce your alcohol consumption and don’t smoke
- Go outside during the day! Sunlight exposure positively affects your circadian rhythm (but be sure to wear sunscreen to protect your skin!)
- Have a routine before bedtime. Brush your teeth and floss, take a warm shower (if you are an evening shower person), and put on nice pajamas to let yourself know that it is time for bed
- Wind down before bedtime for at least thirty minutes. Avoid electronics during this time! Stretch, practice meditation, write in a journal, read a book, or listen to ASMR or calming music
- Have a relaxing place to sleep. Block out light, set the temperature to about 65 degrees, and drown out noise (perhaps with a white noise machine or ear plugs). It can also be helpful to have a comfortable mattress, bedding, and pillow
- Avoid napping during the day. I know it can be tempting, but it makes it harder to sleep at night. If you must have your nap, do it in the early afternoon and keep it short!
- Limit your caffeine consumption, and when you do consume it, do it before noon. I love coffee as much as the next college student, but not at the expense of my Zzzs!
- Keep your meals before bedtime light. Eat an earlier dinner so you aren’t still digesting your food while in bed
- Wake up and go to sleep at consistent times during the week. It may be tempting to sleep until noon on the weekends, but an oscillating sleep times can upset your sleep schedule
Try incorporating some or all of these techniques into your routine! (PS, just because I said sleep hygiene may be more important than regular hygiene, it doesn’t mean you should stop wearing deodorant. Please wear deodorant.)
Written by Emma Mathias with contributions from sleepfoundation.org and edited by GUAFDS staff member Kate