Skip to content Skip to footer
Father and son getting ready for a nap, browsing on a mobile

How Can Good Sleep Hygiene Help You Fall Asleep Faster?

Sometimes, getting a good night’s sleep is easier said than done, even when we feel exhausted and ready for bed. In fact, according to Mental Health UK, almost 1 in 5 people aren’t getting enough sleep.

However, good sleep hygiene could hold the key to improving your sleep. From establishing a soothing bedtime routine to taking the technology out of your bedroom, there are many small sleep hygiene tips that can make a big difference to your sleep pattern.

In this article, we will talk through what sleep hygiene is, why we need good sleep hygiene, and which sleep hygiene tips might work best for you.

What is sleep hygiene?

For those who regularly struggle to get a good night’s sleep, you may have come across the term ‘sleep hygiene’ when searching for sleep solutions. But, exactly, what is sleep hygiene? And why is this health topic becoming so popular?

To break it down in its simplest terms, sleep hygiene refers to the routines or behaviours you can practise to fall asleep faster or improve the quality of your sleep. Examples of good sleep hygiene include eating the right foods before bed, reducing your screen time at night, and limiting your caffeine intake.

Good sleep hygiene isn’t just a one-off either. To maximise its effectiveness, you need to be following the same sleep hygiene advice every night, allowing your body to get into a healthy routine.

However, it’s important to note that good sleep hygiene is not a miracle cure for all sleeping problems. Instead, think of it as a way to increase your chances of falling asleep and having a better night’s rest. If you do have long-lasting sleep issues or insomnia, then it’s best to talk to your GP about the best course of treatment.

How does poor sleep hygiene impact your body?

Before we get into the sleep hygiene tips that could help you fall asleep faster, let’s first touch upon how your body reacts to poor sleep hygiene and not getting enough sleep.

For starters, sleep is a basic human need, giving your body and brain an opportunity to rest and repair themselves after working all day. If you follow poor sleep hygiene, however, and your sleep suffers as a result, you can directly impact your physical and mental health.

In terms of physical health, continued sleep deprivation has been linked to different chronic health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. More generally, poor sleep hygiene can weaken our immune systems, making it more difficult to fight off the flu or the common cold.

Lack of sleep as a result of poor sleep hygiene can also have a negative impact on your mental health. You may start feeling more irritable and low in energy, which can then develop into anxiety or depression as you experience more sleepless nights. Your mind may also feel ‘fuzzy’, making it difficult to concentrate or make decisions.

Remember, if you’re experiencing any of the above physical or mental symptoms, it’s best to talk to your GP, as well as following good sleep hygiene advice. Regularly getting a good night’s sleep will have a positive impact on your overall health, but your GP could provide wider insight on your sleep issues and offer a treatment plan as a result.

3 sleep hygiene tips to help you get a good night’s sleep

While certain medical studies talk up the five principles of good sleep health (prioritise, personalise, value, trust, and protect your sleep), it can be a little tricky to put those into practise. That’s why we’ve pulled together this sleep hygiene checklist to help you enjoy a good night’s sleep:

1. Establish a consistent bedtime routine

We are very much creatures of habit, and establishing regular routines is a great sleep hygiene tip to get our brains and bodies accustomed to falling asleep and waking up at the same time every day.

It’s not as straightforward is it sounds, however. Where people might be going wrong is with the bedtime routine itself. This is the time when you need to be winding down and, essentially, telling your body that it should be preparing for sleep.

In terms of that sleep hygiene checklist, repeating actions at the same time every night goes a long way to creating an effective bedtime routine. Putting on your pyjamas, brushing your teeth, or taking off your makeup – signals that tell your brain and body that it’s almost time to sleep.

When thinking about good sleep hygiene, you should also avoid using technology 30 minutes to an hour before going to bed. Studies have shown that using devices before bedtime directly impacts the amount and quality of your sleep. So, be sure to un-plug from phones, laptops, tablets, and television as you wind down for bed.

2. Turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary

Following on from the sleep hygiene advice around bedtimes, you also need to ensure your bedroom is an environment that actually encourages sleep.

From a practical perspective, you’ll want to ensure that your bed is as comfortable as can be. That means finding a mattress that will help your posture, soft blankets to wrap yourself up in, and the right pillows to rest your head on.

And then, moving onto sleep hygiene tips, you’ll want to remove any technology from the room, which will help when creating the perfect bedtime routine. As previously mentioned, studies found that using electronic devices during bedtime, such as televisions or phones, directly impacts sleep quality, contributing to poor sleep hygiene.

There are also studies that analysed how multi-functional bedrooms might affect good sleep hygiene. The results suggested that people much prefer to use their bedrooms for just sleep, rather than also working, reading, or watching television, and their sleep improved as a result.

3. Review your health habits

While the majority of sleep hygiene advice is concerned with what you do at night, your daily behaviours and habits could also be contributing to poor sleep hygiene.

For example, drinking too much caffeine can make it much more difficult to drift off to sleep , so try to avoid drinking coffee, black tea, or energy drinks after noon. Similar sleep hygiene advice includes not eating too late at night. If you’re still digesting food when you get into bed, it will be much more difficult to fall asleep.

There’s also a direct correlation between drinking alcohol and sleep disruption. As such, if you reduce your alcohol intake, you’re not only following good sleep hygiene, but you also lower the risk of cancer, heart disease, liver disease, and strokes.

Feel ready to put our sleep hygiene checklist to the test? Or maybe you’d like to delve deeper into some more sleep health advice? Head over to our Be Healthy Hub and read our articles on the best foods for sleep and how to cut down on screen time.

Medically reviewed in March 2024.