How to Fix Your Poor Sleep Hygiene

10 tips for getting a good night’s sleep

There’s nothing that can throw your day off more than not getting enough sleep. I mean, seriously nothing. You get groggy, disoriented, and might even find yourself snapping at a coworker for no reason. Okay, maybe he deserved it. But that’s not the point.

This all comes down to poor sleep hygiene. It might feel like you have no control over your ability to sleep, but actually you do. The decisions you make before you go to sleep (and throughout your entire day) have a huge impact on your sleep quality and your ability to sleep through the night.

Once you figure out what you’re doing to contribute to your own poor sleep hygiene (AKA self-sabotage), you can take steps to fix it. Before you know it, you’ll actually be getting the sleep you need…and you’ll become a much more functional human. I promise.

The symptoms of poor sleep hygiene

How do you know if you’re suffering from poor sleep hygiene or if you’ve just had a few rough nights? Check whether any of these symptoms sound familiar:

  • Low energy
  • Mood changes
  • Lack of motivation
  • Bad decision-making
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Headaches
  • Skin issues
  • Taking more than 40 minutes to fall asleep
  • Waking up more than once per night
  • Lying awake often in the middle of the night

If you only have two or three of these symptoms, you might not need to worry about poor sleep hygiene. If you’re mentally ticking off most of the items on this list, on the other hand, you’re probably going to want to work on improving your sleep hygiene.

What to do about your poor sleep hygiene

Like other types of hygiene, proper sleep hygiene requires daily effort. Okay, I won’t judge you if you don’t take a shower every day (as long as you don’t forget to wear deodorant). But you’ll really need to put in the work every single day to improve your sleep hygiene, especially if you’ve developed some bad habits. Here are some important things to make part of your routine as you work towards better sleep.

1. Manage your blue light time

We’ve all heard about the terrible dangers of phones, blah blah blah. But there actually could be some truth in what your Aunt Marla always tells you. Okay, not about 5G causing Covid. I’m talking about the harmful effects of blue light, especially before bed.

According to research, the blue light that emanates from your phone and other devices disrupts your body’s production of melatonin, a natural hormone that makes you feel sleepy. That’s why it’s wise to step away from your devices at least an hour before your bedtime. Extra points if you sleep with your phone in another room so you’re not tempted to answer emails in the middle of the night.

2. Try some coffee alternatives

I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve been relying on coffee to keep you awake throughout the day. Unfortunately, that coffee habit you’ve been nurturing is probably part of what’s keeping you in an unforgiving cycle of poor sleep hygiene. Drinking lots of caffeine, especially in the late afternoons and evenings, can prevent you from sleeping well at night. This makes you more tired during the day, which in turn drives you to drink more caffeine.

Thankfully, there are plenty of coffee alternatives that taste delicious and still give you that boost of energy you need. Even if you can’t imagine giving up coffee completely, you can at least substitute one of these drinks for your mid-afternoon cup of joe.

3. Relax before bed

You can’t go from cheering on your favorite football team on Sunday night to falling asleep within minutes. You need time to relax and slowly transition into the right mental state. Which activities should you choose to do before bed? That depends on what you find relaxing. The most important thing is to establish a nighttime routine so your body knows it’s bedtime.

You might want to try meditating, taking a bath, or listening to calming music. Reading a book is a great sleep trigger for many people, but you need to make sure you don’t pick up a page-turner. Otherwise, you might find yourself reading late into the night. 

4. Go dark

I’m not talking about making yourself unreachable, although that’s certainly helpful for falling asleep. Rather, I want you to go dark literally…as in making sure you don’t have any lights in your bedroom.

You might have a night light plugged in for when you need to get up at night, but even that small amount of light could be disturbing your sleep. Make sure you turn off the glowing light on your alarm clock and check to see whether your curtains block out the early morning light.

5. Embrace sunlight in the morning

Your body may need utter darkness at night, but it also needs sunlight exposure in the morning. This helps regulate your body clock so that you can be fully awake during the day and sleep well at night.

If your job doesn’t give you opportunities to get outside, make time every day before you leave for work. You can sit on the porch for a few minutes while you eat breakfast or take a quick mid-morning walk outside. If you live in a region that doesn’t get much sun during the winter, you might want to invest in a sun lamp to get you the sunlight you need.

6. Journal before climbing into bed

Sometimes you have trouble falling asleep because your mind won’t stop racing with the day’s events. A great way to prevent this from happening is to take a few minutes to journal about your day before you go to sleep. You can work this into your bedtime routine as a way of easing your mind before bed.

If you’ve tried journaling and it’s not really your thing, find another way to process the day. This could be a nightly conversation with your partner, a call with a friend, or a short meditation that helps you release the day. It’s best if you can do this outside your bedroom so you can reserve your bed as a place for rest.

7. Give aromatherapy a try

There’s nothing like aromatherapy to soothe you into a sleepy state. In fact, studies show that lavender essential oil in particular increases your deep sleep. And who doesn’t love the smell of lavender?

That being said, there are other essential oils that can also serve as natural sleep remedies. Consider investing in a diffuser so you can make aromatherapy part of your nighttime routine.

8. Don’t hit snooze

Doesn’t hitting the snooze button actually give you a few extra minutes of precious sleep? Not exactly. Instead, pressing snooze makes your body feel confused and groggy when you finally get out of bed. As far as your sleep cycle is concerned, it’s much better to simply wake up when your alarm goes off.

How can you break your bad habit of pressing snooze? Try putting your alarm clock in a place far from your bed so you have to actually get up in order to turn off your alarm. It might be hard at first, but you’ll eventually find yourself waking up more rested.

9. Take another look at your mattress

Okay, if we’re being honest, some of us still sleep on the mattress we bought (or found–yikes!) in college. If this sounds like you, it’s probably time to upgrade to a better mattress. That means finding one that’s big enough, soft enough, and springy enough for you to get the sleep you need.

Aside from buying a new mattress, you’ll want to consider whether you need a new pillow and sheets as well. This might seem like it’s adding up rather quickly, but good sleep is totally worth the investment. And if you buy good-quality things, they’ll last decades.

10. Get your Deep Sleep on

Still having trouble getting enough sleep? You need something that will actually work with your brain to help you fall asleep quickly and deeply. And no, I’m not talking about sleeping pills. Opt for a more natural approach and try out the Hapbee device, a wearable that uses safe, effective signals to help you sleep better, work better, and live better.

Hapbee has two signals that are designed for your nighttime routine: Bedtime and Deep Sleep. Bedtime is a sleep trigger that’s meant to make you start feeling sleepy about 30 minutes before you go to bed. Deep Sleep is a sleep regulator that actually increases your deep sleep and makes you feel more rested when you wake up. Most Hapbee users sleep with their Hapbee set on Deep Sleep underneath their pillow. What are you waiting for? Order Hapbee today–and start sleeping better than ever before.