Sleeping well is a prerequisite to being well, feeling well, and living up to your full potential.
A lack of sleep is a gateway to all kinds of unpleasant consequences. That includes a weaker immune system, increased risk of obesity, heart disease and other illnesses, impaired focus and productivity, worsened mental health, to name but a few.
Improving the quality of your sleep should be at the top of your list if you feel you are not getting enough of it or if you feel that the quality of your rest is not all it could be.
What is sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is the set of habits and rituals you have established around going to bed. Some call it an evening routine.
For example, if you go to bed at 2 AM every night, after drinking a cup of coffee at 8 PM, and spend the two hours between midnight and going to bed on your phone, you are practicing poor sleep hygiene.
Here are the steps you can take to improve it:
Know how much you need to sleep
While science says that we should aim for around seven or more hours of sleep every night, everyone is different, and you may need more or less than that.
Getting more sleep than you need is nearly just as bad as not sleeping enough, so figuring out what you work with best should be your first task.
Take a month to test out different amounts of sleep and figure out what works. Once you have that number, figure out when you need to get up and when you need to go to bed, to be able to fit in your desired and preferred hours of sleep in between.
Go to bed at the same time (and get up at the same time, too)
Your body thrives on order and routine, and going to bed at the same time every night will help your brain go into sleep mode faster. It will take some time to train it, but if you stick to the same routine every night, and consequently get up every morning at the same time (even on weekends), you will soon adapt.