Graphic: RFDS Mental Health Team member Glynis Thorp

Top tips for good sleep hygiene and mental health

Date published

26 Sep 2017

Sleep is one of the most important elements of a healthy happy life. Most of us now understand that we need to prioritise quality sleep but how do we ensure we get it? And what happens if we don’t? One way we can improve our sleep is through sleep hygiene.

Glynis Thorp, from the Royal Flying Doctor Service’s South Eastern Section Mental Health Team, answered these questions recently during her weekly Good Mental Health segment on Outback Radio 2WEB’s morning show.

Here is some information Glynis shared.

What is sleep hygiene?

Sleep hygiene refers to behaviours and environments that surround our sleep. It also refers to our sleep habits.

What habits could lead to a bad night’s sleep?

Leaving the TV on, spending lots of time in front of screens before bed, drinking alcohol and smoking can lead to poor sleep. Having irregular sleep patterns could also make getting a good night’s sleep even harder.  

Why is sleep important?

Sleep is an essential part of our health. If we don’t get enough sleep or good sleep, it could lead to increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure and stroke.
Without adequate sleep our brain can become foggy, judgement becomes poorer and our fine motor skills are weakened.

How can we sleep better?

Our bedrooms should be sleep inducing environments. The bedroom shouldn’t be too warm, it should be well ventilated and we should sleep on comfortable mattresses and pillows.

Establishing a soothing routine before we go to bed is also critical. This could include:

  • Dimming lighting
  • Cutting caffeine consumption four to six hours before bed time
  • Avoiding cigarette consumption before bed as tobacco is a stimulant
  • Going to bed at around the same time every night 
  • Not drinking alcohol because it makes sleep apnoea worse