Sleep Hygiene

What is meant by the phrase 'Sleep Hygiene'?

Sleep hygiene is the name given to the habits, behaviours and environments related to sleeping. These factors are likely to directly influence the quality of your sleep. Signs of poor sleep hygiene may be difficulty falling asleep, waking up a lot and experiencing daytime drowsiness. Signs of good sleep hygiene are an ability to fall asleep easily, enjoying restful, uninterrupted sleep and waking up feeling refreshed.

Why is good sleep hygiene important?

Improving your sleep hygiene is one of the easiest ways to improve the quality of your sleep. It is something that most people can make simple changes to, as part of their daily routine. This can result in better sleep, more energy and improved health and wellbeing. Good quality sleep is essential for good physical and mental health.

How do daytime habits affect sleep?

Maintaining healthy daytime habits can help improve sleep hygiene. Click on each point below to find out more:

  • Stay physically active- see our Exercise and Physical Activity page
  • Get outdoors in the sunlight
  • Enjoy a healthy, balanced diet- information on our Diet and Nutrition page
  • Avoid caffeine late in the day
  • Try not to take too many naps
  • Don’t have dinner late in the evening
  • Avoid drinking large amounts of alcohol
  • Don’t smoke– you can find local Stop Smoking services on our Service Finder page

What is a healthy bedtime routine?

Sticking to a healthy bedtime routine can be very helpful. Click on each point below to find out more:

  • Stick to the same routine
  • Wind down before bed
  • Have a cut-off time for electronic devices
  • Keep lights low
  • Keep the bedroom cool, quiet and tidy
  • Experiment with relaxation techniques
  • Get up if you can’t fall asleep

Some people find that lying flat can increase breathlessness. It can be helpful to prop yourself up on one or two pillows and avoid sleeping on your back

Where do I begin?

Start by making small changes and find a healthy sleep routine to suit you. There is no single answer and different things work for different people. Good sleep hygiene can help to encourage better sleep, but for people with sleep conditions such as sleep apnoea or sleep disorders, you should speak to your GP or respiratory nurse, as treatment may be beneficial. If you do not have a GP, you can find local services on our service finder webpage. Click here to find out more about the benefits of good sleep.