–       Searches for ‘what is a good sleep routine’ have increased by 100% in the last year

–   Experts share what sleep hygiene is and how it could be negatively impacting your sleep

Sleep is crucial to maintaining concentration levels, mood and the immune system – but almost one in five adults aren’t getting enough[1].

Benenden Health has also spotted that Brits are increasingly curious as to how their sleep hygiene is contributing to poor sleep, as searches for ‘what is sleep hygiene’ have increased by 22% in the last three months.

sleep hygiene

To shed some light on exactly what sleep hygiene is and how it can improve sleep quality, Llinos Connolly from Benenden Health explains:

“Sleep hygiene is a popular health topic at the moment and there is good reason for it.

“Firstly, the term refers to the routines and behaviours that help promote better sleep.

“As humans, we love having a routine and so do our bodies. So, for those struggling with restless nights, developing your night-time routine could be vital in improving your sleep quality.

“Creating a routine doesn’t have to be long or daunting, it’s personal to you. Simple things such as always brushing your teeth at the same time each night, removing technology, practising mindfulness, or reading a book send signals to your brain that you are slowing down and are ready to sleep.

“However, it’s important to note that if you are struggling with insomnia or long-lasting sleep issues, you should talk to your GP.”

So, to help those who may be struggling with the side effects of poor sleep, Llinos Connolly from Benenden Health has shared three top tips to improve your sleep hygiene:

sleep hygiene

1. Establish a consistent routine

Creating a routine will help your brain and body get accustomed to falling asleep and waking up at the same time each day. And with searches for ‘what is a good sleep routine’ increasing by a staggering 100% in the last year, below are some easy tips.

Setting a realistic and consistent bedtime is a crucial first step and make sure to wind down an hour or so before this. Taking a warm bath, drinking a herbal tea and listening to calming music can all help calm the mind and induce sleep.

Additionally, there have been studies to show that using technology right before sleeping directly impacts your quality of sleep. So, try to un-plug from any technology at least 30 minutes before going to bed.

2. Create your sleep sanctuary

It’s important to create a sleep-friendly bedroom, somewhere that makes you feel calm and comfortable. Factors such as light, sound, temperature and comfort all have a huge impact on your sleep.

If you are sensitive to noise in the night, try putting a fan on or playing white noise during the night to block out any disturbances.

As mentioned, harsh lights from technology can inhibit sleep, so avoid screens and make sure you have warm lighting in your room. Soft lamps and candles can naturally induce the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin.

sleep hygiene

Finally, getting your bedroom to the right temperature can be vital. Most adults experience a drop in body temperature while they sleep as this makes you sleepier. The recommended temperature at night is 18 degrees Celsius, so if you are struggling to sleep, try to steer clear of very thick blankets and pyjamas to keep your body temperature stable.

 3. Eat for your sleep

What you consume can also impact the quality of your sleep.

Avoid highly caffeinated drinks after noon, opting instead for alternatives like de-caffeinated tea, herbal teas, and cherry juice.

There’s also a direct correlation between drinking alcohol and sleep disruption. So, to follow good sleep hygiene, it’s always advised to reduce your alcohol intake as much as possible.

Should you find yourself hungry before bedtime, consider snacks that encourage melatonin production. Cherries, renowned for their natural melatonin content, are perfect for satisfying a sweet craving while promoting sleep. Almonds are another great choice, their magnesium content not only helps relax muscles but also helps stabilize blood sugar levels overnight. 

To read more on sleep hygiene you can visit the Benenden Health website.

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