The Importance of Good Sleep Hygiene: What It Is and How You Can Improve It

It is a generally accepted fact that sleep is essential to our well-being and health. Yet many people struggle with getting a good night's sleep. This may be due to a concept known as 'sleep hygiene'. Good sleep hygiene is a combination of sleep conditions and lifestyle habits that help you get consistent, uninterrupted sleep.

Benefits of Good Sleep Hygiene

Good sleep hygiene can be beneficial in many ways. If you get enough sleep — experts recommend 7 to 8 hours per night — you should:

  • Get sick less often
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Prevent health problems such as diabetes and heart disease
  • Feeling happier and less stressed
  • Being able to think more clearly during the day

If you have trouble falling asleep, if you can't stay asleep, or if you often feel sleepy during the day, these may be signs of poor sleep hygiene.

How Do You Ensure Good Sleep Hygiene?

You can take simple steps to break bad habits and sleep better.

- Be consistent: Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time. This helps your body develop a routine that helps you get sleepy at the same time every night and wake up refreshed in the morning.
- Keep your bedroom quiet, dark and at a good temperature before sleeping. Many doctors recommend 15 to 19 degrees Celsius.
- Make your bedroom relaxing, which for you can mean that it is clean and clutter-free.
- Try a relaxation routine before bed, such as meditation, yoga or stretching.
- Limit naps during the day, this uses up your sleeping capital.
- Make your bed a sleeping zone: don't read or watch TV there.
- Do not bring electronic devices into the bedroom. This will help you avoid being tempted to check emails or messages right before bed, or stay up late to watch a series. These devices also emit blue light that can affect your body's melatonin production.
- Do not eat large, heavy meals before bedtime.
- Limit caffeine, it stays in your body for an average of 5 hours.
- Limit alcohol, it has a good sedative effect when falling asleep, but the breakdown throughout the night causes an increased heart rate and stress, which in turn are detrimental to your sleep quality.
- Exercise during the day. Whether it's a walk at lunch or a bike ride before your family wakes up, exercise can help you fall asleep more easily.
- Consider natural nutritional supplements: Certain nutritional supplements, such as valerian, escholzia (California poppy) and melatonin, are known for their sleep-promoting properties. Valerian and escholzia can help calm the mind and reduce stress, while melatonin supports your natural sleep-wake cycle.

Understanding and practicing good sleep hygiene can make a significant difference in how well you sleep and how you feel during the day. Try applying these tips and see how your night's sleep improves.

Metis can also support you during this habit building with Metis Sleep 08.

Pharmacist Dirk Christiaen
Founder of Metis Supplements

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