A woman sleeps in her bed.
Sleep Care

Why Sleep Hygiene Matters

The word “hygiene” is often associated with habits that keep you clean, like showering, washing your hands or brushing your teeth. But it also applies to sleep. Sleep hygiene is made up of environmental factors and personal habits that can affect your sleep quality.

Getting quality sleep is something most people struggle with, but Family Medicine Physician Rohin Saroya, MD, from Bayhealth Primary Care, Smyrna, has a few guidelines can help you get much-deserved rest.

Nighttime routine
Start winding down at about the same time every night. Try to do the same things every night before bed, that way your brain knows it’s time for bed when you brush your teeth. “Turn off electronics at least 30 minutes before bed—blue light from screens can make it harder to fall asleep,” Dr. Saroya said.

Sleep schedule
Ideally, adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on the weekends, will help you get enough sleep. If you need to change your sleeping hours, you can adjust your sleep schedule by making gradual changes in the days/weeks leading up to your new set schedule.

Healthy daytime habits
“Things you do during the day can also impact quality of sleep,” Dr. Saroya said. Try to use your bed only for sleep and avoid using it as a place to watch TV. Don’t have caffeine too late in the day as it can make falling asleep difficult. Similarly, only drink alcohol in moderation since its effects can disrupt sleep. And, while taking naps is ok, you shouldn’t nap for longer than 20-30 minutes. Additionally, try to get at least 15-30 minutes of exercise per day.

Make your room somewhere you want to sleep
A comfortable environment will help relax your mind and encourage sleep. Use blackout curtains or an eye mask to keep sunlight out, especially if you work night shift. Noises can also be distracting, so consider using ear plugs or a white noise machine. Keep your bedroom set to a comfortable temperature and invest in a good mattress.

These tips can help you get quality, restful sleep. However, if you experience severe sleeping problems or excessive daytime sleepiness, make sure to talk to your doctor about possible sleep disorders and treatments.

Visit Bayhealth.org/Services/Sleep to learn more about Bayhealth’s Sleep Centers.

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