woman brushing teeth looking in the bathroom mirror
Sean Cate
Sean Cate
June 12, 2024 ·  4 min read

If You Want a Better Sleep Hygiene, Stop Brushing Your Teeth Right Before Bed – Here’s Why

Good sleep is essential for our physical and mental well-being, yet many struggle to get the restful sleep that they need. Surprisingly, one common bedtime routine might be contributing to sleep problems: brushing your teeth right before bed. Let’s take a look at why brushing your teeth before bed can affect your sleep and explore other tips for improving your sleep hygiene.

The Impact of Brushing Your Teeth Before Bed

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Brushing your teeth is an essential part of dental hygiene, but doing it right before bed may be counterproductive to your sleep quality. According to sleep expert James Wilson, performing tasks like brushing your teeth and washing your face just before getting into bed can actually wake you up. The bright bathroom lights and the physical activity involved can stimulate your brain and body, making it harder to fall asleep quickly.1

Wilson advises completing these activities earlier in the evening, allowing your body to relax before bed. This way, when you feel sleepy, you can go straight to bed without risking waking yourself up again.

Temperature Control in the Bedroom

Cool thermometer
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Another common mistake people make before bed is adjusting the room temperature too close to bedtime. Claire Davies, a certified sleep science coach, recommends setting your bedroom temperature between 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit about an hour before you plan to sleep. Adjusting the temperature right before bed does not give your room enough time to reach the optimal sleep temperature, which can lead to poor sleep hygiene and difficulty falling asleep.

A cooler room helps your body lower its core temperature, which is necessary for initiating sleep. Overheating during sleep can cause frequent wake-ups, disrupting your sleep cycle.

The Perils of Last-Minute Phone Checks

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Many people have the habit of checking their phones one last time before bed. This practice can severely impact your sleep hygiene and sleep quality. The blue light emitted by phone screens can reduce melatonin levels, a hormone crucial for regulating sleep. Furthermore, engaging in stimulating activities like reading messages or scrolling through social media can keep your brain alert, making it harder to unwind at the end of the day.

Switch your phone to night mode at least an hour before bed or, better yet, avoid using electronic devices entirely during this time.

Establishing a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

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Creating a relaxing bedtime routine is crucial for signaling to your body that it’s time to sleep. A consistent routine helps your body recognize bedtime, making it easier to fall asleep. Here are some suggestions for optimal sleep hygiene:

  • Read a book: Opt for a physical book rather than an e-reader to avoid blue light exposure.
  • Journal: Writing down your thoughts and tasks for the next day can help clear your mind.
  • Listen to soothing music: Calming music can help you relax and prepare for sleep.
  • Practice meditation or breathing exercises: Techniques like the 4-7-8 breathing method can reduce stress and anxiety, promoting relaxation.2

Creating an Ideal Sleep Environment

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Your sleep environment plays a significant role in your ability to fall and stay asleep. Here are some tips for optimizing your bedroom:

  • Keep it cool: Maintain a room temperature between 60-67°F.
  • Reduce noise: Use earplugs or a white noise machine to block out disruptive sounds.
  • Make it dark: Use blackout curtains or an eye mask to eliminate light.
  • Ensure comfort: Invest in a supportive mattress and pillows that suit your sleeping position.

Read More: Trouble Sleeping? Try One of These Natural Sleep Remedies

Other Sleep Hygiene Practices

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Beyond bedtime routines and an optimal sleep environment, daytime habits also affect sleep quality. Here are some additional tips for good sleep hygiene:

  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to regulate your internal clock.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol: Both substances can interfere with your ability to fall and stay asleep. Avoid consuming them in the hours leading up to bedtime.3
  • Exercise regularly: Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each day, but avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime.
  • Limit naps: If you need to nap, keep it short (20 minutes or less) and avoid napping late in the afternoon.


Woman brushing her teeth
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Improving your sleep hygiene involves more than just creating a relaxing bedtime routine; it requires attention to multiple parts of your day and the habits and environment you create for yourself. Understanding the impact of your evening activities – like brushing your teeth right before bed – can significantly improve your sleep quality. Remember, small adjustments added up can make a big difference in achieving the restful sleep your body needs.

Read More: Melatonin: The Supplement That Can Aid With Sleep, Eye Health, Jet Lag, and More


  1. Sleep experts say brushing your teeth right before bed is a common nighttime routine mistake — here’s why.” MSN. Frances Daniels. 2024.
  2. 12 Healthy Sleep Hygiene Tips.” Healthline. Erica Hersh. March 27, 2024.
  3. Improve Your Sleep Hygiene.” UCSF Health