How's your sleep hygiene?

Scientifically-based Actionable Advice
By: 
Hayley Roper

Sleep hygiene includes behaviors and environmental factors that promote better quality sleep. Here are 6 simple ways to improve sleep hygiene (for you and your baby).

Establish a routine that is relaxing. Research continues to show that routines improve sleep across all ages. It is never too early, or too late, to start a bedtime routine. According to sleep expert, Dr. Canapari, bedtime routines are low hanging fruit for better sleep.  For babies and children, a routine may include a bath, massage (for infants), lotion (for toddlers), and cuddling or singing before lights out. For adults, avoid working and emotionally and psychologically arousing conversations and activities before bed. Scroll all the way down for additional sources for starting a sleep routine.

Consistency is key. Set a bedtime that allows you the necessary amount of sleep. Wake up at the same time (yes, even on the weekends) and stick to your routine.

Avoid stimulants and nicotine before bed. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it makes it difficult to stay asleep. Stop drinking caffeine at least 6 hours before bed.

Create a sleep friendly bedroom environment that is quiet and relaxing. Room temperature is important. During the nighttime, our bodies’ temperature drops by a degree or two. Keeping your bedroom temperature cool, but comfortable helps the body maintain the necessary temperature for good sleep.  Black out curtains, eye shades, white noise machines, and fans may also help. Use your bed for sleep and sex only (and not for working, eating, watching television, or other electronics).

Go to bed when you’re tired. If you lay awake in bed for more than 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing, such as reading a book until you are tired. Avoid watching television or checking your phone.

Light is your friend, so is darkness. Exposure to natural light during the day and darkness at night helps maintain the body’s sleep-wake cycle.

For adults, avoid naps, or limit your nap to 30 minutes and keep it earlier in the day.

Additional sources for starting a bedtime routine: