By now, you’ve (hopefully) heard all about the benefits of getting consistent, quality shuteye. However, despite your best intentions, there’s a good chance you might not be getting enough. 

In fact, recent research suggests that nearly 3 in 4 people fall short of the restorative sleep they need. One possible culprit? Less-than-stellar sleep hygiene, which includes your habits and behaviors, and the environment around you at night. 

Can You Improve Your Sleep Hygiene? 

Fortunately, yes — there are many science-backed ways to improve your sleep hygiene. Below, find five tips, all proven by research, that have been shown to help you sleep better, starting as soon as tonight! 

If you’re an Oura member, you can use the Tags feature to track your behaviors and habits and see how they impact your own quality of sleep over time.

1. Clear the air. 

Research has shown that certain respiratory irritants can make sleeping more difficult. Allergy triggers in household dust include the obvious mold, pollen, and pet dander. In addition, dust mites live in the vast majority of homes in the world, and they leave behind allergy triggering particles. Even otherwise innocuous dust particles can harbor toxic household chemicals or pollutants from outdoors

Plus, these particles are very small and can fragment into even smaller bits that cover your bed and are stirred up by motion in sleep, which can cause them to float in the air for minutes or hours.  

Try this tonight: 

2. Minimize sources of light. 

Artificial light interferes with the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone — studies show it can suppress melatonin production by 50%. While blue light from electronics is the most villainous kind, any source of light — an LED clock, TV, even or a sliver of light peeking beneath the door — can impact your sleep. 

Try this tonight: 

  • You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again: Put down the phone at least an hour before bed. If you must look at your screen, use a night mode filter on your smartphone, or install an app like F.lux on your computer. 
  • Invest in a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses, like those by Ra Optics, to minimize the light in your environment after dark. 
  • If light comes in through your windows, install blackout shades or wear a comfy sleep mask to block out the light. 
  • Consider swapping your regular light bulbs for 45-watt natural-light bulbs to lower the total amount of wattage in your home. 

RELATED: How Blue Light Impacts Your Sleep

Sleep Hygiene Post

3. Turn up the (right kind of) noise. 

It may sound counterintuitive, but adding some noise to your environment — the relaxing kind — can help you sleep better. You may have heard of white noise, which studies have shown can help people fall asleep faster. Recent research shows that pink noise can be just as effective, and sleeping with pink noise has been linked with improved memory, possibly as a result of its effect on memory-enhancing sleep

Try this tonight: 

  • Buy a noise machine or download an app like White Noise Lite (iOS, Android) that emits a soft, static-like sound (like gentle ocean waves or quiet rainfall).
  • A Molekule air purifier can do double duty, clearing harmful particles from the air and providing a soft, pink noise in the background.

4. Cool it down. 

Your body temperature naturally lowers to help it wind down for bed, so a cool atmosphere naturally induces a feeling of sleepiness. And once you are asleep, your body temperature continues to lower, so a cooler environment can be supportive of this process. Then, as you get closer to waking up, your body temperature increases, which provides a signal to your body to halt melatonin production. 

Try this tonight: 

  • When it’s time for bed, turn down the thermostat to between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius), ideally.  
  • Try taking a warm bath or shower before bed, which can prompt your body to cool itself down. (Here’s why that works.
  • Your body’s ability to thermoregulate itself during sleep isn’t only dependent on the air in the room; it also depends on your bedding materials. Make sure your mattress and sheets aren’t made of materials that hold in heat, and are instead cooling and breathable. 

RELATED: How to Choose the Best Bedding for Better Sleep

5. Eat the right foods — and avoid the wrong ones — before bed.  

A final and not-to-be-overlooked element of sleep hygiene involves what you eat and drink before you go to sleep. Not all foods are created equal; while certain foods should be avoided before bed, others can actually benefit your sleep. 

Try this tonight: 

  • If you’re craving a bedtime snack, go for a combo of carbs and protein. Think: cheese and crackers, an apple and almond butter, or turkey and a slice of whole-grain bread. Dairy is a smart addition if you can tolerate it, since calcium helps the brain convert the amino acid tryptophan (found in many proteins) into melatonin. 
  • Stay away from spicy or garlicky foods before bed, which can cause sleep-disrupting digestive issues, as well as foods that are particularly high in fat. 
  • Avoid caffeine or alcohol — both of which are known sleep-disruptors. 
  • Sip a cup of decaf tea with calming ingredients, such as chamomile, lavender, passionflower, or valerian root. Plus, the relaxing ritual of simply making a cup of tea can serve as a reminder to your body that it’s time to wind down. 

 RELATED: How Late-Night Eating Affects Sleep