This Friday, 16 March 2018 is World Sleep Day. It’s a reminder of the important role quality sleep plays in our overall wellbeing. Not only is quality sleep vital for our brain health, it’s also central to our physical, emotional and social wellbeing.
In our last blog, we talked about how you can become Your Own Quality Sleep Coach. In this blog, we’ll discuss the 5 key steps to getting a quality night’s sleep.
Step 1: Assess your current sleep quality (get a baseline)
Having a benchmark is essential to achieving any goal. When it comes to sleep, if our goal is to improve our sleep quality we need to establish a baseline. The Quality Sleep Questionnaire is a self-evaluation of quality sleep practices and outcomes.
Once you’ve downloaded & completed the questionnaire we’ll send you a scoring sheet so you can get your Quality Sleep Score. This score becomes your Quality Sleep Benchmark and will help you identify the practices that will improve your sleep quality.
Step 2: Keep a diary of your sleep practices (so you know what can be improved)
Good sleep hygiene is taking care of the things that contribute to quality sleep outcomes. The best sleep hygiene practices ensure your sleeping environment is well prepared, distractions are minimised, and you prepare yourself for sleep in a calm and predictable way.
Use a sleep diary for 1 week to track how your daily activities and experiences impact your sleep, your sleep hygiene habits and the quality of your sleep overall. When you complete the Quality Sleep Questionnaire you’ll also receive a copy of the Wellbeing Science Institute Quality Sleep Diary.
Step 3: Optimise your sleep practices (follow our top 10 tips)
To set yourself up for a good night’s sleep, check out the Wellbeing Science Institute’s top 10 tips for quality sleep.
- Exercise daily (but not 3-hours or less before sleep)
- Set up your room for sleep so it’s quiet, comfortable and cool (no more than 20 degrees)
- Don’t drink caffeine 4 hours or less before sleep
- Avoid rich or fatty foods before sleep
- Don’t use alcohol as a sleep-aid
- Avoid using medication to help you sleep
- Have a consistent pre-sleep routine which includes some form of relaxation – eg a slow breathing exercise, reading a book (not on your device), meditating, using a gratitude journal or listening to calming music
- Follow the 90-minute rule to determine what time you go to bed
- Set a consistent bed-time and wake-up time
- Switch off all screens 30 minutes (minimum) before bed-time
While everybody’s sleep needs are different, our research suggests that these top 10 sleep hygiene practices make a big difference.
Step 4: Decide what changes to make to improve your sleep quality
You now have enough information to make an informed choice about what to do to get a quality night’s sleep. Set some goals and commit to the actions you believe will have the greatest impact on the quality of your sleep.
Implement the changes over 1 week.
Step 5: Re-assess your sleep quality
After you’ve implemented the changes to your sleep practices for a full week, re-take the Quality Sleep Questionnaire and calculate your new quality sleep score.
We’re confident that you’ll see significant improvements in your sleep quality. After you’ve tried this sleep experiment, let us know how you went.
If you’ve made significant changes to your sleep practices and haven’t seen an improvement, it might be a good idea to speak with your Doctor or a sleep specialist.