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Sleep Hygiene 101: Tips and Techniques for a Good Night's Sleep

Sleep Hygiene 101: Tips and Techniques for a Good Night's Sleep

Sleep is essential to overall well-being. To put things in perspective, most people spend almost a third of their lives sleeping. For something that is so important, however, there is a striking amount of people not getting sufficient sleep or suffering from poor quality sleep.聽

Approximately, a third of the U.S. population does not get the proper amount of healthy sleep, and tens of millions of Americans are diagnosed with sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea.

With this in mind, let鈥檚 delve into everything you need to know about sleep, ensuring a better sleep quality, and how to improve sleep hygiene for a more restful night.聽

Understanding sleep hygiene

Personal hygiene is often tantamount to skin care routines, taking a walk around the block, and remembering to floss. However, sleep hygiene should be top of the list of your personal hygiene priorities.聽

So what is sleep hygiene and what does it consist of?

By definition, sleep hygiene is the umbrella term for the guidelines and recommendations set forward by experts to promote healthy sleep. In practice, good sleep hygiene practices can look like many things, from avoiding screen time before bed to eating a healthy diet. Because quality sleep looks different for everyone, it can be difficult to know what good sleep habit tips will work for you.聽

That鈥檚 why it鈥檚 helpful to looks at some of the external and internal factors that can impact sleep hygiene, such as:

  • Work 鈥 Working irregular or nighttime hours can throw off your body鈥檚 internal clock and lead to shortened, insufficient sleep duration. Sleeping during the day goes against your circadian rhythm, leading to issues when you try to sleep at night.
  • Place of residence 鈥 Bright and noisy areas, such as a city or bustling apartment building, can interrupt sleep, waking you up during the night and making it difficult to fall back asleep.聽
  • Diet and medications 鈥 What you put in your body has significant effects on your ability to sleep. Excessive caffeine or alcohol intake can negatively impact sleep quality, and there may be sleep-depriving side effects that accompany medications you take.聽
  • Stress Various causes of stress in your daily life put your body in a heightened state of arousal and worry, so it makes sense that it can have you tossing and turning all night, unable to get a good night鈥檚 sleep.

Identifying the factors creating your sleeping problems is the first step to relief. While some of these factors may be out of your control, sleep hygiene education is meant to give you the best advice for maximizing sleep duration and quality.

The science behind good sleep

To understand 鈥済ood鈥 sleep, it helps to visualize the inner workings of sleep itself.聽

Our bodies run on an internal clock called a circadian rhythm, which is roughly connected to the 24 hour light-dark cycle. When it鈥檚 light out, our bodies know it鈥檚 time to be awake, and when the sun goes down, it knows it鈥檚 time to sleep. Additionally, sleep consists of both REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and non-REM sleep, which the body cycles through over the course of the night.

As the body passes through the three stages of non-REM sleep, muscle movements and breathing slow. REM sleep, on the other hand, is characterized by back and forth eye movement under the lids鈥攂rain activity and heart rate both increase to a level closer to that when awake.

The body needs enough time at rest to move through the different stages of sleep. While adequate sleep duration will flux throughout your lifetime, most experts will recommend that adults should get at least 7-9 hours of sleep for the best effects.

While much of the nuances and intricacies of sleep are still a mystery, it鈥檚 well established that sleep plays a key role in the body鈥檚 essential functions. It keeps the immune system in shape, helps with memory storage and retrieval, and removes toxins from the brain.聽

Poor sleep hygiene, on the other hand, can lead to many unwanted effects, such as:

  • Brain fog and lack of focus during waking hours
  • Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
  • Heart conditions such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease

No one enjoys feeling groggy and sleep-deprived during the day, which is why good sleep hygiene practices are so important.聽

How to improve sleep hygiene

You may think that sleep hygiene only involves the things you do just before bed, but what you do during all hours of the day can have an impact on your sleep.聽

Below, we鈥檝e compiled a list of the best sleep hygiene recommendations that you can easily integrate into your everyday life.

Limit caffeine use

The biggest contributor to sleep problems may actually be one of the first things you consume in the morning: caffeine.聽

Caffeine, found in coffee and other drinks, is a stimulant, meaning it puts your body in an increased state of arousal and alertness. In other words, it keeps you awake. Caffeine can remain in the body for anywhere from three to seven hours after consumption.

While your morning cup of coffee is okay, your afternoon or late-night energy drink is less so. Limiting caffeine intake and use of other stimulants such as nicotine, especially in the hours before bed, can help significantly with falling asleep.聽

Nap responsibly

Don鈥檛 worry, you don鈥檛 have to cut naps entirely out of your daytime routine. Power naps have been proven to improve cognitive functions and boost energy. However, napping too frequently or for long durations can affect your natural sleep patterns.

It鈥檚 recommended that you keep your naps under 30 minutes. By doing this, you will maximize the effect of the nap and still be able to fall asleep at night. Try using Power Nap Vibe for a quick nap that wakes you up refreshed.

Find ways to relax

If you find yourself tossing and turning at night due to stress and worry, or if it鈥檚 difficult for you to quiet your mind when trying to fall asleep, it can be helpful to learn a few relaxation techniques and strategies for reducing stress that work for you for better sleep.聽

Besides counting sheep, some easy ways to relax before in bed include:

  • Deep breathing exercises 鈥 A simple deep breathing exercise is known as box breathing. You can practice it right now: breathe in for four, hold for four, breathe out for four, hold for four, and repeat. Controlled breathing will slow your heart rate and make you feel more calm.聽
  • Mindfulness meditation Mindfulness is less about shutting out thoughts and more about identifying them before letting them go. Having a better grasp of what you worry about at night can help you put those thoughts to rest鈥along with your body.
  • Relax your body 鈥 Ensuring your body is relaxed can help relax your mind as well. Light stretching or a warm bath can soothe taut muscles and racing thoughts.聽

A great, science-backed tool that can help you relax during the day and at night is the Apollo wearable. The wearable sends calming vibrations through the skin that can enhance focus and put you at ease. The Apollo Vibes can be customized to your needs, helping you achieve longer and more restful sleep.聽

Create a bedtime routine

A consistent routine can be a powerful tool for building healthy habits and curbing sleep problems. Your bedtime routine doesn鈥檛 have to be complicated, but each night, you should follow it closely to the best of your ability.聽

Some things to consider when creating your bedtime routine:

  • Avoid blue light from electronic devices 鈥 Blue light mimics sunlight, which can confuse your circadian rhythm and make your body think it should stay awake. To that end, try and stop using your devices at least two hours before bed to help your body understand that it鈥檚 time to go to sleep. If you struggle to put away your devices, there are certain apps that can limit your screen time with locks and sleep reminders.
  • Designate the bedroom for sleeping only 鈥 When we refrain from working or leisuring in our bedroom, our mind can better associate the bedroom with sleeping. So when you go into your bedroom, your body knows what it鈥檚 supposed to do. Making your bedroom comfortable and distraction free can also help when it comes time to sleep. A quiet, dark environment and soft bedding will make the transition into sleep easier.聽
  • Have consistent sleep and wake times 鈥 Ideally, we would all sleep according to our natural circadian rhythms, but work and life, and poor sleep hygiene, can get in the way. Instead, stick to a regular sleep schedule that aligns with your individual needs. If you would like to adjust your sleep schedule to go to bed earlier, start small. Try going to bed a few minutes earlier than the night before, continuing to adjust your bedtime in small increments over days or even weeks. And remember to adjust your wake-time accordingly.聽

The repetition of these positive behaviors will make them almost second nature and lead to deeper, more rejuvenating sleep.聽

Get a great night鈥檚 sleep with the Apollo wearable

In addition to the helpful sleep hygiene tips covered above, an Apollo wearable may be your key to sleeping better at night.

The science behind Apollo has been聽researched and tested by real users in multiple sleep disorder studies. The soothing vibrations of the wearable are proven to positively affect mood, concentration, and yes, sleep. With Apollo, users experience longer periods of deep sleep and up to 30 minutes of extra sleep a night.聽

Try using our Apollo wearable and聽feel the full effects for yourself. You can learn more about our research on our website and read testimonials from both the scientists behind Apollo and the users singing its praises.聽

Sources:聽

National Institutes of Health. Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/public-education/brain-basics/brain-basics-understanding-sleep聽聽

American Sleep Apnea Association. The State of Sleep Health in America 2023. https://www.sleephealth.org/sleep-health/the-state-of-sleephealth-in-america/

National Library of Medicine. The Role of Sleep Hygiene in Promoting Public Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4400203/

Harvard Health Publishing. Blue Light Has a Dark Side. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side聽聽