Woman sleeping

Improving mental health with proper sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene. This is the term given to your night time rituals and bed time routine. If you want to get a better nights sleep, the answer often lies in your bed time habits and how you set yourself up for a decent nights sleep.

Sleep is as important to our health as eating and drinking, It allows our bodies to repair themselves and our brains to consolidate our memories and process information. Poor sleep has been linked to physical problems like a weakened immune system as well as mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Your sleep hygiene can be improved through a few simple steps such as adjusting light, reducing noise and temperature.

So what is sleep hygiene? The nitty-gritty of it is that what you do for a period of time before you go to sleep as well as the environment in which you sleep all matter a great deal. For example, pulling all nighters through the week and then sleeping in on the weekend to pay off your ‘sleep debt’ is bad sleep hygiene. On the mother hand, having a regular sleeping schedule and avoiding caffeine late at night are good examples of sleep hygiene.

Even minor improvements in your sleep hygiene can provide massively improved returns in the quality of sleep that you get each night, and reviewing your bed time habits should be the first thing you do when you start having troubles getting a solid 8 hours each night. Sleep hygiene is even an integral part of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) used to treat insomnia, anxiety and depression. You already know sleep is important, you wouldn’t be reading this article otherwise, quality sleep on a regular schedule is critical to maintaining balanced emotional, physical and mental health and help you become more positive and productive through the day.

For a quick guide, this is a simple run down of what you need for good sleep hygiene:

  • Temperature – A cool room that is neither too hot nor too cold
  • Darkness – Darker is always better
  • Quieter – The less noise, the less distraction, however white noise can be used to drown out any background noise you may have.
  • Comfort – You’ll struggle to get to sleep at all if you aren’t comfortable
improving mental health

A suitable environment in which to sleep is key for good sleep hygiene