We take showers, and look after our physical hygiene, but when was the last time you inspected your habits towards your sleep? Sleep hygiene refers to the habits you put in place that help you get a good night’s sleep. What might these look like?

Temperature and sleep

It’s summer, the fan’s on and the hot oven-like air is circulating in your stuffy room. You can’t seem to fall asleep. Sound familiar?

Temperature impacts not only how fast we fall asleep, but the quality of our sleep too.

In preparation for sleep, your body naturally decreases its body temperature. This decrease in temperature that our body does is mostly so we can conserve energy, but also, it’s simply more cosy right?

It is better if you aren’t too warm as being too hot causes your body to not smoothly slip into REM deep sleep, which is the process in which your brain repairs itself.

To help our body fall asleep faster, it is best to help our body cool down faster and begin this restoration process. It is recommended to do so by focusing on our ambient temperature, that is, cooling down our room. Try opening a window, or setting the air con to a cooler setting half an hour before sleeping. However, be mindful, everyone has their own preferences, see what works for you.

Caffeine and sleep

When should you stop drinking coffee before bed?

If you catch yourself struggling to fall asleep or experiencing night time anxiety it may be a sign caffeine is interfering with your sleep.

And yes you can have too much caffeine!

According to the National Sleep Foundation, most healthy adults should have a minimum of 6 hours without caffeine before you go to bed. This is to avoid interruptions during your sleep.

Just remember this is a recommendation and it may not be enough time for you, try it out and see what works. If you are concerned, please speak to a healthcare professional.

Is the 8-hours-of-sleep suggestion a myth?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, for an adult between 18-60 years of age it is recommended to have 7 or more hours of sleep every night.

However, one third of us are likely to be getting less than the recommended hours of sleep.  Lack of sleep can affect our mood, mental sharpness, and productivity.  Prolonged lack of sleep have been shown to increase the risk of being diagnosed with dementia later in life.

We all know some nights this is simply unobtainable. However, if you aren’t getting at least multiple days of good rest, then it would suggest that it’s time to look into your sleep hygiene.

Exercise and sleep

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, there’s firm evidence from research to show that regular exercise improves sleep quality and helps us fall asleep more quickly.  Research also shows that people who exercise regularly enjoy more slow wave sleep, which is deep sleep, where the brain and body have a chance to rejuvenate and repair.

However, the scientists are yet to understand the HOW and through what mechanism does exercise help promote better sleep.

There’s also much debate on when to exercise during the day to promote better sleep.  On this, it appears to be very individual so you may need to try it for yourself and find the time to exercise that helps you get the best sleep.

The rule of thumb seems to be that 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise during the day is enough for you to experience improved sleep quality at night.

That’s enough good news for us to keep burpee-ing!

For more practical tips on getting a good night’s shut-eye, check out our article “6 Tips for Your Best Night’s Sleep“.


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