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Improving your sleep hygiene for a better night’s sleep

Let’s talk science19.11.21 5 min. read

At a glance: Sleep better with better sleep hygiene

  1. What is sleep hygiene?
  2. Make your bed and lie in it
  3. Downtime before bedtime
  4. Wine before sleep won’t be deep
  5. Tips for better sleep hygiene


We all know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep: Waking up feeling refreshed, our skin glowing and the joy of starting off the day in a good mood. We might sleep badly one night, but our body can cope and mostly, an extra shot of espresso the next morning is enough to see us right. When sleepless nights however do become the norm, it can cause both mind and body to suffer.

Important processes are taking place in our body all the time while we sleep. And recent research suggests that sleep plays an essential role in the formation of our long-term memory – a process which isn’t possible during the day, while we continue to perceive and process all the stimuli around us [1].

This is by no means the only reason why it’s so important for us to maintain an optimum amount of sleep: Both too little and too much sleep can lead to a reduction in mental performance [2] as well as a higher risk of gaining weight [3]. It can also increase our susceptibility to chronic anxiety and depression. [4].

If you suffer regularly from insomnia or often get too little sleep, then good sleep hygiene with steps that promote sleep could really help you get your natural rhythm back.

What is sleep hygiene?

The word “hygiene” is often used, but it’s not always clear exactly what’s meant by it. It comes from the Greek, and literally translates as “the art of health”, a definition which actually explains the principles of sleep hygiene quite well. Essentially, there are lots of different things we can do to ensure we can get the right quality and quantity of sleep.

What that looks like in practice varies from person to person. Some people swear by a glass of hot milk and honey before going to bed, others read a few pages of their favorite book. What’s most important is that your sleep routine works for you.

There are few hard and fast rules when it comes to sleep hygiene. But there are some habits which have been proven by certain studies to improve the quality of our sleep.

Make your bed and lie in it

The first step towards a good night’s sleep is a calming space to lie down in. If your bedroom is a place of calm, you'll feel cosier, more comfortable and you’ll be able to let go of things better.

Find out what works best for you – it doesn’t matter if you’re a minimalist with a strong preference for clean lines or if you like colourful boho chic, the main thing is that your nighttime surroundings are inviting and familiar to you. Invest in nice, comfortable bedding that can adjust both to the temperature and the seasons. The right mattress and a good pillow can also work wonders.

Pay particular attention to the room’s temperature, it should be comfortable if not cool. The American Sleep Association recommends a temperature between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius [7].

Downtime before bedtime

There was a huge commotion a few years ago when researchers declared that being exposed to blue light before going to sleep could influence how much sleep we get, suggesting that blue light could delay the production of melatonin and the onset of REM sleep [5].

While there appears to be little evidence to support this view, the influence of blue light on our sleep has now been reevaluated by scientists [6]. According to these studies, it’s not just the spectrum of light, but also the length of time and the intensity of the brightness that matters.

This means that if we set the alarm on our mobile just before going to bed, it probably won’t affect our sleep pattern. Scrolling through social media for half an hour before bed though probably will. This means it can be useful to establish a routine that limits screen time after a certain time.

Wine before sleep won’t be deep

Alcohol at night can give us the deceptive feeling of being able to sleep better – but often it does the exact opposite. A glass of red wine in the evening might help us drift off to sleep more easily, and in the right circumstances might even allow for deeper sleep during the first phase, but it does mean that the second sleep phase is more likely to be interrupted.

Consumed regularly, alcohol can also lead to less restorative sleep. And in this case, it doesn’t really matter if it is just a small glass [9].

Instead, you’re much better off going for that proverbial cup of tea before bedtime. Chamomile is especially good, as it hooks up with your benzodiazepine receptors to promote a healthy sleep [10].

Tips for better sleep hygiene

So from now on, we’ll all be reaching for a cup of chamomile tea instead of a glass of wine. And while it’s important to avoid blue light late at night, the same also goes for other sources of bright light. We don’t need to stress too much over a sneak peek – so long as we stick to our nighttime routine.

Our surroundings also play an important role in allowing our mind to rest. Both bedroom furnishings and a comfortable sleeping temperature are important. A sleep cream such as The Good Night might also make up part of your bedtime ritual and help contribute to a restful sleep. Besides natural melatonin and kaolin, it also contains CBD cultivated outdoors in Switzerland and is pleasantly scented with Palo Santo. When used as part of a regular sleep hygiene ritual, it can help you find peace in both mind and body.

Or why not try combining it with a sleep meditation?


[1] About Sleep's Role in Memory

[2] Self-reported sleep duration and cognitive functioning in a general population

[3] The Association Between Sleep Duration and Weight Gain in Adults: A 6-Year Prospective Study from the Quebec Family Study

[4] Sleep duration, but not insomnia, predicts the 2-year course of depressive and anxiety disorders

[5] Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness

[6] Forget What You Think You Know About Blue Light and Sleep

[7] Hot or Cold: What’s the Best Temperature for Sleep?

[8] The effects of bedtime writing on difficulty falling asleep: A polysomnographic study comparing to-do lists and completed activity lists

[9] Alcohol and sleep I: effects on normal sleep