The criteria for good sleep hygiene are always changing as more sleep research is done.
Healthy sleep habits can make it easier for people to drift off, stay asleep all through the night, and wake up feeling rested. Similar to how good sleep hygiene may affect the quantity and quality of sleep, so can bad sleep hygiene.
1. Consistency is key
You may develop a healthy habit and get higher quality sleep each night by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Even on weekends and during holidays, rise at the same hour every day.
2. Exercise regularly and at the right time
Exercise throughout the day might make you feel more worn out and prepared for bed at night. Exercise is typically best done in the morning to mid-afternoon because exercising too close to bedtime may trigger arousals that make it harder to fall asleep.
3. Refrain from drinking coffee late in the day
The effects of caffeine, a stimulant, can keep you feeling awake for up to six hours. While consuming caffeinated foods and beverages in the morning or early afternoon may not have an impact on your ability to sleep, doing so in the late afternoon and evening is not advised.
4. Using your phone (or any other devices that emit blue light) immediately prior to bedtime
Any kind of light, but especially blue light, suppresses the release of melatonin, which is the hormone that makes you sleepy. So ditch your phones and laptops (even if they have an ostensible blue-light filter) at the bedroom door (i.e. at least 30 minutes before bedtime) and read a book to unwind instead.
5. Drinking alcohol at night
Ironically, many people drink alcohol as a nightcap because of the misguided belief that alcohol helps them to sleep. Matthew Walker points out that alcohol is a sedative, but sedation is not sleep.
While alcohol might make you sleepy, it actually decreases the quality of your sleep quite drastically: it fragments and disrupts your sleep such that you will wake up frequently during the night (even if you don’t remember this the next morning). Moreover, alcohol also inhibits rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is an essential part of your sleep cycle.
6. Eat a light dinner and avoid heavy snacking and excessive fluid intake right before bedtime
Heavy food intake can cause indigestion, which negatively affects the quality of your sleep. Drinking too much fluids (especially diuretics like alcohol, which increase urination) too close to bedtime can also disrupt your sleep as you might wa
ke up multiple times during the night to go to the bathroom. So it is advisable that you try to limit your intake of food and liquid at night.
7. Take a natural sleep aid like Ashwagandha
One of the most efficient ways of improving your sleep is to take a natural supplement like Ashwagandha, which has been used for centuries as a sleep aid. Ashwagandha promotes better sleep on several levels. Its bioactive compounds help your body to manage stressful conditions and promote resistance to anxiety. An easing of stress will, in turn, indirectly improve your ability to sleep deeply.