5 min read

Sleep Hygiene

Published on
June 12, 2023
Tessa Hogan
Tessa Hogan is a degree-qualified Naturopath and Medical Herbalist.
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Sleep has been a very big topic of discussion in the last few years, and rightfully so. Sleep issues and insomnia are extremely common. When someone comes into my clinic, we always talk about sleep, and if it is an issue, it will be one of the first things I address. This is because if we can support healthy sleep, it's amazing what the body will be able to heal by itself. 

Before I prescribe herbal formulas and supplements, we discuss the topic of sleep hygiene. This is the habits and practices that you have throughout the whole day that can impact the quality of your sleep. In this article I will outline the most important habits that have the biggest impact on sleep and provide practical tips to help you improve your sleep quality naturally.

Why is Sleep Hygiene Important?

Sleep is a fundamental biological process that is vital for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. During sleep, our bodies go through various restorative processes, including tissue repair, immune system support, and memory consolidation. Good quality sleep is essential for optimal brain function, emotional regulation, immune function, and overall vitality.

On the other hand, poor sleep quality or inadequate sleep can have detrimental effects on our health. Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to a wide range of health issues, including increased risk of chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Poor sleep can also affect our cognitive function, mood, energy levels, and ability to cope with stress. That's why prioritising good sleep hygiene is crucial for maintaining optimal health and well-being.

What inhibits good sleep?

Blue Light

Blue light, also known as high-energy visible (HEV) blue light, emitted by screens such as smartphones, laptops, and TVs, can have a significant impact on our sleep quality. The blue light emitted by screens can disrupt our circadian rhythm, the internal clock that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. This can trick our brain into thinking it's still daytime, making it harder to fall asleep at night. To promote optimal sleep hygiene, it's important to limit exposure to blue light before bedtime by avoiding screens for at least an hour before sleep.


While naps can be refreshing, too much daytime sleep can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. If you need rest during the day, I encourage my clients to have ‘non-sleep deep rest’ which is lying down with your eyes closed and focusing on breathing, you should do this for no longer than 10-15 minutes to avoid falling asleep. 


Consuming excessive amounts of sugar can lead to blood sugar spikes and crashes, which can disrupt sleep patterns. Similarly, caffeine can interfere with sleep by increasing alertness and delaying the onset of sleep. Both sugar and caffeine can disrupt the duration and quality of sleep, resulting in restless nights and groggy mornings.

What helps good sleep?


Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body's internal clock and promotes a healthy sleep-wake cycle.


Develop a relaxing bedtime routine to signal to your body that it's time to wind down. This may include activities such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, practising relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation, or listening to calming music.


Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool. Consider using blackout curtains, earplugs, a good-quality mattress and pillows that suit your preferences can greatly improve your sleep quality. If you sleep with a partner, I find memory foam mattresses are a game changer as they limit movement as opposed to a spring mattress.


Regular exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week, but avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime as it may stimulate your body and make it harder to fall asleep.

Stress Management

Chronic stress will disrupt your sleep. Practice stress-management techniques such as mindfulness, yoga, or journaling to help reduce stress levels and promote restful sleep.

Cold Exposure

Cold showers, also known as cold thermogenesis, involve exposing your body to cold water, which can activate the body's natural response to cold stress. This response includes increased production of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that can help improve mood, focus, and alertness during the day, while also promoting a sense of relaxation and calmness at night. Cold showers before bedtime also help lower core body temperature, which is associated with the natural onset of sleep. 

Still not sleeping?

Sleep hygiene is the first conversation I have with people about sleep, because oftentimes it is the simple things that can have a big impact. However, if there is something happening metabolically, hormonally or otherwise, sleep hygiene will only do so much. 

If you have a good sleep routine and are still having problems I would recommend coming in to see us so we can figure out what might be getting in the way of a good night's rest. It might be a symptom of something that is going on at a deeper level. As an example peri-menopause and menopause are very common causes of restless sleep and the perfect reason to get some support.

Natural sleep support

If you haven't tried them already, my sleep drops formula is another great option to try, or the slightly stronger, sleep aid formula. My clients who have a hard time sleeping due to stress or a busy mind find these medical herbs to be extremely effective. However, if there is something deeper going on, it will need to be addressed at a deeper level.

References and further education on this subject

"The Drive" podcast by Dr. Peter Attia - Dr. Attia has discussed the importance of sleep hygiene in several episodes of his podcast, "The Drive." You can find relevant episodes on his website at

"Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams" by Matthew Walker - This bestselling book by Matthew Walker, a renowned sleep scientist and professor of neuroscience and psychology, provides in-depth information on the importance of sleep and practical tips for improving sleep hygiene.

"The Huberman Lab Podcast" by Dr. Andrew Huberman - Dr. Huberman, a neuroscientist and professor at Stanford University, has discussed the topic of sleep hygiene in several episodes of his podcast, "The Huberman Lab Podcast." You can find relevant episodes on his website at

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