Comprehensive Post-COVID Care Now Available! Click here to learn more.
Sleep Hygiene

Sleep Hygiene: 5 Hacks to a Good Night’s Sleep

Do you find yourself twisting and turning in your bed at night? Spending the nights wondering why you can not fall asleep? And the harder you try to sleep, the more difficult it is for you to doze off – night after night.

According to the World Sleep Society, poor sleep hygiene affects over 45% of people globally, which can deter a healthy lifestyle and cause hormonal imbalances. Not only is sleep deprivation linked to reduced productivity and cognitive impairment, but also a causative factor behind a poor diet and a lack of exercise is a lifestyle.

Insomnia is not just a buzzword – About a third of Americans have fallen victim to poor sleep hygiene, as per CDC; which can prove detrimental to cognitive brain function in the long run.

As insomnia can be managed and therefore cured, let us discuss the top 5 hacks which can contribute to a good night’s sleep naturally – with more to come along the way.

Hack #1- Increase Daytime Light Exposure

A person’s biological clock, otherwise known as the body’s circadian rhythm, is highly influenced by your external habitats. Exposure to light or darkness plays a pivotal role in shaping the biological clock of an individual, which is responsible for keeping you preemptively alert till it perceives the appropriate time to sleep in a day’s period.

As per a study; healthy exposure to bright sunlight for two hours a day can help increase sleep efficiency and longevity by 80% in sleep-disturbed adults.

  • Install a bright LED bulb in your office if your work prevents you from taking a leisurely daytime walk during the day. 
  • Or better yet, simply adjust your room’s furniture so that you can soak in light through the open windows. Plus, you get plenty of Vitamin D as well as fresh air!

Hack #2- Blue-light Exposure is a Misnomer

Smartphones and other electronic devices such as computers and laptops emit blue light in quantities that can harmfully alter your circadian rhythm. Blue light suppresses the body’s production of melatonin – a hormone that is secreted in response to darkness and is pivotal for healthy REM sleep. 

Using a smartphone in your bed at night can lead to overexposure to blue light, which will ultimately prevent you from dozing off and leave you tired during the day.

  • Try to refrain from using your screens at least two hours before you go to bed. 
  • If your work involves you frequently using your screens for more than half the day, consider introducing anti-blue light glasses and filters for your monitors.

Hack #3- Limit Your Caffeine Intake Before Bed

Consuming a caffeinated beverage – coffee, tea, or energy drink – 6 hours prior to bedtime can severely affect your sleep efficiency. Known as a psychostimulant; caffeine boosts the central nervous system, thus inducing alertness and reducing the need for sleep. It also stimulates the autonomic nervous system (ANS) which leads to involuntary bodily movements.

Caffeine can also cause anxiety and jitteriness which can leave you sleepless more often.

  • Reduce caffeine intake at least 6 – 8 hours before heading to bed. The half-life of caffeine is roughly within 1.5 to 9.5 hours in a healthy body’s plasma.
  • Over 90% of Americans rely on waking up to a hot cup of coffee religiously. If you need a cup of coffee in the evening as well, try limiting your caffeine intake or switch to decaf as a whole.

Hack #4- Use Scents to Stimulate Sleep

Adding freshness to your bedrooms can also be immensely beneficial for your sleep hygiene. Flowers, Essential Oils, and Scented Candles can be used to create a comforting aura in the room, which can help you feel relaxed, both mentally and physically.

According to a popular study, aromatherapy is very beneficial when it comes to relaxation and sleep. Inhaling certain fragrances can initiate the production of Serotonin and Endorphins ( the feel-good hormones), which then triggers the Parasympathetic nervous system – the part of the nervous system responsible for recovery and rest.

Endorphins are also responsible for inducing sedative effects; while Serotonin lets out Melatonin, which is a hormone released post-evening time to help prepare your body for sleep. All of this works simultaneously to induce and maintain sleep.

The most recommended scents that can help you stimulate sleep are Lavender, Chamomile, Bergamot, Jasmine, Rose, and Sandalwood.

Hack #5- Maintain Regular Exercise

Exercising during the day allows you to burn a significant amount of energy, which prepares your body and mind for relaxed and healthy sleep, as the night comes.
But make sure to keep track, and not exercise too close to bedtime; since physical exercise produces endorphins which can make it difficult for you to fall asleep if they’re not given the due time to be washed out.

Several pieces of research have supported the fact that regular exercise not only keeps the mind and body healthy but also improves the quality and quantity of sleep. Moderate exercise, done regularly, has proven to enhance slow-wave sleep in the body. Slow-wave sleep is a term used to refer to deep sleep, which is a perfectly relaxed state where the mind can be recharged and revitalized.

Researches also suggest that exercising can also potentially help you balance out your mood, along with decompressing your mind; which happens to be a cognitive process that is quite essential when it comes to transitioning to sleep, naturally.

The Final Word

Sleep deprivation is a global epidemic; arguably one of the most treatable causes to cause severe mental and physical health decline. Good quality sleep is highly essential to any age group – be it children, adults, or the elderly – as it can directly affect a person’s level of productivity as well as their quality of life.  

If you are finding it increasingly hard to sleep day by day, book an appointment with our primary healthcare physician at Manhattan Medical Arts today. A healthy lifestyle begins at home; we, at MMA, aim to guarantee your well-being by taking you through your appointment seamlessly.

– Disclaimer –
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by Dr. Syra Hanif, M.D. on 01/24/2022

Learn more about our editorial process.

  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.

Read More