Happy Human Habit #1 – Curate your Sleep

Hello, fellow sleepers! 

I’m Jesse Walker, the co-founder of Happy Human and a student of what makes for a good night’s sleep. Through my journey, I’ve discovered the profound impact of sleep hygiene on our daily lives. Below, I’m excited to share our comprehensive guide to mastering sleep hygiene, complete with a link to our invaluable Printable Sleep Checklist.

The Golden Hour: Embracing Screen-Free Time

As an avid supporter of digital detox before bed, I’ve experienced firsthand the benefits of powering down screens an hour before sleep. This practice isn’t merely about avoiding the disruptive blue light; it’s about mentally unwinding and distancing oneself from the day’s stresses. In this golden hour, I indulge in activities that soothe the soul – I listen to Gillian Welch, I pace the house, or enjoy a warm, calming shower. This transition phase is crucial for signaling to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for a night of deep, restful sleep.

The 8-Hour Sleep Window: More Than Just a Dream

The quality of our waking hours is profoundly affected by our sleeping ones. Allocating an 8-hour window for sleep doesn’t mean you’ll sleep the entire time, but it gives your body the opportunity to unwind and go through the necessary sleep cycles. This dedicated sleep window has been a game-changer for me, significantly enhancing my alertness and productivity. 

Consistency: The Bedrock of Sleep Hygiene

Maintaining a consistent bedtime is more than a routine; it’s a lifestyle change that aligns with your body’s natural circadian rhythm. I’ve found that setting a fixed bedtime and sticking to it – even on weekends – dramatically improves my ability to fall asleep quickly and enjoy uninterrupted sleep. It’s about training your internal clock for consistency, which, in turn, enhances sleep quality. Start by determining your ideal wake-up time and work backward to establish a bedtime that allows for your full 8-hour sleep opportunity.

Total Darkness: Your Sleep Sanctuary

Creating a sleep-conducive environment is critical, and it starts with darkness. A completely dark room signals to your brain that it’s nighttime, triggering the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone. I’ve invested in blackout curtains, removed all glowing electronics, and even cover up the tiniest of LED lights to ensure my room is a cave of darkness. This practice has significantly improved my sleep depth and quality, making each morning a refreshing start.

The Cool Factor: Optimal Sleep Temperature

A slightly cooler room is the secret ingredient for deep, restorative sleep. By lowering the thermostat, you’re not just creating a comfortable sleep environment; you’re also aiding your body’s natural temperature regulation, which is a critical part of the sleep process. I’ve found that setting the temperature a few degrees lower than my daytime preference helps me fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. It’s a simple yet effective strategy that can make a big difference in your sleep quality.

Cell Phone: A No-No in the Bedroom

Our smartphones are like a portal to another world – a world that can wait until morning. Keeping your phone out of the bedroom, or at least on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode, is crucial for uninterrupted sleep. I charge my phone in special box we built in the kitchen and use a traditional alarm clock to wake up. This reduces the unexpected interruptions, allowing me to fall back asleep more easily.

Movement: The Unsung Hero of Sleep

Incorporating regular physical activity into my daily routine has been a cornerstone of my sleep hygiene practice. It’s not about intense workouts; even moderate activities like a brisk walk, yoga, or playful moments with pets can significantly improve sleep quality. Regular exercise helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle and reduces stress, making it easier to fall asleep at night.

A Comprehensive Approach to Restful Nights

Adopting these sleep hygiene practices has transformed not just my nights, but my days as well. Better sleep leads to improved mood, enhanced cognitive function, and overall well-being. I encourage you to try these strategies and see the difference for yourself. And don’t forget to check out our Printable Sleep Checklist to help you on this journey.