All human beings need to sleep, and sleep can be a detrimental factor to our
performance throughout the day, management of our mood, and our mental health and well-
being. Stanford Lifestyle Medicine (2023) asserts that recent evidence suggests sub-par sleep
increases the risk of developing Chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and
that sleep disturbances can cause significant impairment to one’s emotional behavior, mental
resilience, and cognitive functioning. Sleep disorders can be prevalent among many around the
world and at times require the intervention of medical and mental health professionals. Sleep
hygiene is often provided as another resource for not only those with diagnosed sleeping
disorders but for anyone who experiences difficulty with sleep. Today we will be taking a look
at 5 ways to practice Sleep Hygiene.
1. Strive for an average of 7 hours of sleep per night
– Stanford Lifestyle Medicine (2023) promotes that adults 18 and older could
benefit from getting an average of 7 hours of sleep per night.
– Each person is different and times can differ between 8-9 hours, the
important piece is to find what fits best for you between the 7-9 hour
– Stanford Lifestyle Medicine (2023) also stressed the importance of creating
consistency by trying to go to sleep and wake up and the same times each
day and evening.
2. Establish a restorative bed time ritual.
– It is important for us to prepare our body and minds for sleep. By having an
intentional night time pre-bed relaxation practice we are signaling to our
mind and body that are day is coming to a close.
– It can be helpful to engage in activities that promote relaxation such as
washing up with warm water or engaging in a mindfulness activity or
– This can also be a form of self-care and double as a time for you to do
something kind for yourself that also preps you for bed such as a facemask.
3. Avoid Midday Naps
– Stanford Lifestyle Medicine (2023) note that Midday naps longer than 30
minutes put one at risk of disturbing their circadian rhythm and making
sleeping in the evening more difficult.
– Stanford Lifestyle Medicine (2023) notes that a 20 minute power nap can
be effective throughout the day however any longer can have negative
impacts on our nightly sleep.
4. The Bed is for Sleep and Sex
– Ensure the bed is used for its primary purposes, In today’s world that is
identified as getting sleep and having sex.
– With the accessibility of technology these days it can be very easy to watch
TV in bed, scroll on our phone, work from home in bed, and for some eat in
– When we engage in behaviors like this we are sending mixed signals to the
brain and body that this space is for relaxing and unwinding and that it is
also for work, eating, entertainment, etc.
– It is important that our body and mind do not become confused and
become used to the bed being for rest or sex.
5. Get out of Bed if you Cannot Fall Asleep.
– Often the tug of war of trying to get to sleep can wear on us even more
than the lack of sleep can.
– Stanford Lifestyle Medicine (2023) asserts that if one continues to
experience difficulty falling asleep for 30 minutes or more, get up out of
bed sit somewhere else and do a non-stimulating activity.
– This could be something such as reading, grounding exercises, or
meditative practices. We want to make sure to not stimulate ourselves
with screens and instead work towards ourselves feeling sleepiness and
then going to bed once the feeling is achieved so that sleepiness and rest
become associated with the bed.