10 Strategies to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene Starting Tonight

You know that feeling. You’re groggy and dragging through the day. You’re exhausted, but when bedtime rolls around, you’re wide awake. And so, you toss and turn, desperate for restful sleep, only to have another frustrating night.

Sound familiar? A good night’s sleep isn’t just a nice luxury. It’s paramount for your physical and mental health.

That said, 50-70 million Americans have sleep-related issues, with 11% reporting serious sleep deprivation. Many times, without intervention or better habits, these sleep problems worsen over time.

Healthy sleep starts with healthy sleep habits. Even if you’ve been struggling for a while, it’s possible to change your relationship with bedtime.

What Is Good Sleep Hygiene?

Sleep hygiene refers to practicing various habits that set you up for healthy and quality sleep. While you may have some environmental and genetic variables that affect a healthy sleep-wake cycle, you can control some of your circumstances.

10 Healthy Sleep Habits to Practice Now

Healthy sleep hygiene isn’t complicated, but it does require effort and discipline. If you want to start having better sleep, here are some healthy habits to consider:

Commit to a Consistent Sleep Schedule

As much as possible, go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. Doing so establishes consistent sleep patterns. Over time, your body will start to get tired at the right time. As you develop a more standard sleep cycle, you will likely find it easier to fall and stay asleep.

Stop Consuming Intense Content Close to Bedtime

We’re all guilty of watching the news or scrolling through social media close to bedtime. But if you struggle to fall asleep, it might be because your brain is hyperactive. Instead, commit to embracing a calming nightly routine. Consider starting it about an hour before bedtime and try to follow the same steps each time.

Practice Relaxation Exercises to Help You Fall Asleep

Disrupted sleep can exacerbate anxiety, particularly if you keep waking up during the middle of the night. Practicing mindfulness helps. The next time you wake up unexpectedly, consider taking several deep breaths and just focusing on your breath. If your mind wanders, gently return it back to your breath.

Create an Optimal Sleep Environment (That Makes You Excited)

Ideally, you spend one-third of your life asleep. That’s a significant chunk of time!

Why not try to make that experience as pleasant as possible? Investing in a high-quality mattress, sheets, comforters, and pajamas can help you look forward to bedtime. If your room feels like an indulgent hotel stay, you’ll be more inclined to stick to your sleep schedule!

Avoid Blue Light

Although research is mixed, some studies suggest that looking at bright screens close to bedtime may disrupt sleep. If you must work or use your phone, consider wearing blue light glasses.

Mind Your Caffeine Intake

If you have trouble falling asleep, stop consuming caffeine by the mid-afternoon. Keep in mind that caffeine can stay in your system for up to 24 hours, and it’s in coffee, tea, chocolate, and some medications.

Consider Daytime Naps

Napping doesn’t work for everyone, but short power naps can be helpful if you have trouble sleeping or need to catch up on rest. That said, research shows that an optimal nap is about 10-20 minutes. Longer naps are associated with more fatigue. Don’t nap after the mid-afternoon.

Be Careful of Relying on Sleep Medicine

Although it may help you fall asleep, sleeping pills have significant downsides. You may experience side effects, such as nausea, headaches, dizziness, and prolonged drowsiness. In addition, your body grows a tolerance to prescription sleep aids. Over time, you may need more of the medication to receive the desired effect.

Get Others on Board With Your Bedtime Habits

Talk to your partner and family members about the steps you’re taking to get more restful sleep. Then, ask them for specific support if you need it. This may mean them being quiet when you’re going to bed, turning all the lights off, and keeping the room cool.

Seek a Medical Opinion

What if you’re practicing good sleep hygiene, but nothing seems to be improving? What if you still can’t fall asleep despite seemingly doing everything right?

Poor sleep can be a sign of more serious sleep disorders like sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, or REM sleep behavior disorder. Your doctor may ask you to complete a sleep study to properly diagnose your symptoms.

Sleep disturbances can also coincide with numerous mental health conditions, like PTSD, anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders. Unfortunately, insufficient sleep can aggravate mental health symptoms, reinforcing a vicious cycle.

How Therapy Can Help You Get Better Sleep

If your sleep quality impacts your emotional well-being, therapy can help. Together we can explore the barriers that may be aggravating your stress. We can also work together to establish a regular sleep schedule that fits your lifestyle and makes you feel more rested throughout the day.

Contact me today to learn more!

4601 Spicewood Springs Road Building 3, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78759

(512) 988-3363

Got Questions?
Send a Message!

By submitting this form via this web portal, you acknowledge and accept the risks of communicating your health information via this unencrypted email and electronic messaging and wish to continue despite those risks. By clicking "Yes, I want to submit this form" you agree to hold Brighter Vision harmless for unauthorized use, disclosure, or access of your protected health information sent via this electronic means.