Want to know something totally sexy and awesome you can do every single night in order to be your most amazing self?
Sure, it doesn’t sound sexy and awesome — but it is. In fact, it’s so sexy and awesome, there’s even a set of hygiene rules around it. Yes, hygiene.
What is Sleep Hygiene?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, “Sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness. Obtaining healthy sleep is important for both physical and mental health. It can also improve productivity and overall quality of life. Everyone, from children to older adults, can benefit from practicing good sleep habits.”
The important concept: practicing good sleep habits. And trust me, I’m the last person who should be writing this article, considering I have the literal worst sleep habits. Come to think of it, perhaps that’s why I SHOULD write this — I definitely need to get some ideas that do not include going to bed at 2 a.m. nightly (when I get up daily at 6:15) and falling asleep to the soothing white noise of “American Horror Story” on Netflix.
(Told ya, I’m a mess.)
So what are the top recommendations? According to the National Sleep Foundation, some of the most important aspects include avoiding stimulants and rich foods close to bedtime, exercising, establishing a regular bedtime routine (going to bed at the same time nightly when possible) and creating a “pleasant” sleep environment including temps between 60 and 67 degrees.
(I’m also assuming that “pleasant” environment does not include my laptop in bed with me, btw.)
For more ideas about what locals do to establish those good sleep hygiene habits, we asked — and you answered! Some of these should be taken with a grain of salt (Brian W., we’re looking at you and your Japanese whiskey, LOL). But the key is to find what works for you — and stick with it!
What Are Your Positive Sleep Strategies?
Limit screen time before bed for at least an hour if not more, bath, reading good books, meditation, lights out before 10, magnetic mattress pad (helps with bad dreams that used to disrupt sleep)...I’m sure I have more, because I’m rather intense about sleep. Haha!
~ Sarah T.
On days when I'm most stressed (which is often these days!) I do a specific yin yoga practice that's geared toward helping you fall asleep on doyogawithme.com, and I take Valerian to help me fall asleep. Regular exercise is important, IMHO, also.
~ Heidi L.
I don’t have a TV in my bedroom. I turn off all electronics 30 mins before bed, including my phone. I read and journal and plan for the next day.
~ Monica G.
First thing I coach people on how to get better sleep is to get the TV out of the bedroom! If you must screen time, then use blue-blocker glasses...because sometimes a movie after kids go to bed is also known as “date night.”
~ Carolyn D.
In fall, winter and spring I take a hot Epsom salt bath. I sleep with earplugs, because I live in Midtown. In summer I like to wash my feet in cold water — super refreshing! Lavender lotion on my hands is soothing and smells fantastic. Always wash my face, brush my teeth — that just seems like a given, but I’ve learned otherwise over the years.
~ Julie K.
~ Brian W.
Strangely enough, I splash cold water on my face every night.
~ Robert S.
I have several. I say prayers with the kids. They usually want to laugh before going to sleep, so we do butterfly kisses or they ask me to tickle them or tell a joke or read a note from the positivity jar. I snuggle the dog into one of the kids' beds. I review the next day in my head. Switch out the laundry. I especially love my nighttime skincare routine, which while I brush my teeth, I wash and tone my skin then a microneedling roller and night cream/serum, lash serum, eye cream and drink a glass of water. Chatting with my husband about family matters and making each other laugh a little before sleeping. I love yous and a kiss goodnight are tradition and comforting too.
~ Laura F.
I'm in love with "Insight Timer," a free app. I search for Meditation for Sleep and prefer Yoga Nidra for Sleep. You can search for guided, with music, even male/female voices. I have yet to complete a single session without drifting off to sleep first. I also use "Serenity" (doTerra) or regular old lavender oil on my pulse points. Seeing this in writing makes me feel soooo hippy, but it's been such a good practice for me, and I love my routine.
~ Fayth R.
As someone who has struggled mightily with insomnia my whole life and made a practice of studying it (even going so far as to have a sleep study and undergo blood testing to examine the cause), I have a few tricks I've developed. First, and I can't stress this enough, keeping to the same schedule is key. I need to go to bed and get out of bed at the same times. Time in bed tricks the body and counts against your sleep time, so time in bed needs to be the same each day, whether you were asleep or not. If you're not sleeping, get out of bed. Also, because I have a very sensitive fight-or-flight response, which contributes to my insomnia, I use my own form of sensory deprivation. I sleep with a pillow over my head to block out light and sound. Blackout blinds in the bedroom help as well, but I wake up if someone sneezes in the other room, so I have to cover my head. It's weird, but it works.
~ Jessica S.
I brush my teeth. Don't wash my face at night. Ever. Read a little bit. Turn the thermostat down. Two fans on.
~ Terri D.
Get off the computer and phone a good hour before you want to sleep. Reading a paper book in bed almost always puts me to sleep, just not one that's too adrenaline-inducing.
~ Paige G.
Ocean Wave sounds on Alexa!
~ Kendall I.
(Brooke L. agreed with Kendall’s suggestion and added another Alexa suggestion: “Zen Japanese garden sounds.”)
If I'm being good, I meditate for about 15-30 minutes (anything with The Honest Guys). Unfortunately, when I'm not being good, I'm usually reading The Washington Post into the wee hours of the morning and stewing about the things I can't change. I'm happy to say that most of the time, I'm good.
~ Sharon B.
I make sure my face is washed, teeth are brushed (sometimes twice) I don’t turn the TV on and I snuggle under my weighted blanket. I toss and turn a lot, so the weighted blanket keeps me still and I wake up less. Also, taking even a 15-minute walk and getting fresh air is so helpful!
~ Brandi A.
Do you have any sleep hygiene tips to add to our list? Let us know in the comments on our Facebook page. And here's wishing sweet, positive, hygienic dreams to all!