Sleep hygiene is a term coined by Peter Hauri, clinical psychologist, and once Director of the Mayo Clinic for Sleep Disorders. It describes developing an optimal context for restful sleep through healthy, sleep-promoting behaviours, lifestyle, and environmental changes. Sleep is a natural yet learned behaviour. It is important to develop habits that facilitate effortless sleep initiation, sufficient duration, and restorative, refreshing quality.
Whether your sleep is good or a disaster-zone, you can improve it by ensuring your sleep hygiene is tip-top!
Take a minute to reflect on the questions below to see if you are sleepy-clean:
- Do you know how much TST (Total Sleep Time) YOU require?
- Do you have a set bedtime, wakeup time, “wind-down” time?
- Does your home and bedroom feel safe?
- Do you eat a hot meal within a few hours of going to bed?
- Do you have a warm bath or shower within two hours of your bedtime?
- Do you drink at least 2 litres of pure water everyday (but not in the last hour before bedtime)?
- Do you stop drinking sugary and caffeinated drinks at least four hours before bedtime?
- Do you stop drinking alcohol at least a few hours of going to bed?
- Do you stop all and any form of electronic screentime (mobile, tablet, computer, TV) at least 30 minutes (but preferably 1 hour) before bedtime?
- Are your pillows, bedding, sleepwear and mattress 100% comfortable?
- Is your bedroom dark and very quiet when you sleep?
- Is your bedroom cool (between 18 – 20 degrees Celsius) when you sleep?
- Do you only use your bed for sleep and sex?
Most people can improve on some aspect of their sleep hygiene and will answer “No!” to at least one, probably more, of these questions.
The links below outline good sleep hygiene and provide tips on how to achieve it. Additionally, you may wish to discuss and improve your sleep hygiene and routines with the help of your psychologist.