Sleep Hygiene: Why it’s important and healthy habits to follow

 What is Sleep Hygiene?

Developing an understanding of sleep hygiene can be the key to a better quality sleep. The definition of sleep hygiene consists of behaviours an individual can perform to help promote good sleep using behavioural interventions. It encompasses both environmental factors and habits. This can mean having a bedroom environment that is a comfortable haven as well as daily routines like a pre-bedtime ritual, that combined can promote consistent, uninterrupted sleep.

Sleep hygiene habits can be completely customizable to suit every unique individual’s sleeping practices and needs. The importance lies in building positive habits or rituals to make it possible to get an uninterrupted, sound sleep while also waking up well rested.

The importance of sleep hygiene

Getting a good quality and healthy amount of sleep are very important for an individual’s mental and physical health. Additionally, healthy sleep can lead to improvements in mood, energy levels, productivity, as well as contribute to an individuals’ overall quality of life.

While the concept of a good night’s sleep sounds simple enough – we know that this isn’t as easy as it seems. For many individuals, getting a healthy night’s sleep can be extremely challenging and some of us develop maladaptive practices that are counterproductive to obtaining the best rest possible. Sleep is an inevitable part of our lives and unhealthy behaviours can jeopardize more than just one night’s rest, as it can gradually take a toll on our health and functioning.

Effective sleep hygiene can be helpful for individuals experiencing any of the following concerns that might be impacting their sleep:

    • Insomnia
    • PTSD
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Sleep disorders
    • Mood disorders
    • and More

While many adults do not need as much sleep as children or have learned to function off limited hours of sleep, it is still important to prioritize good quality sleep. It can be easy to neglect healthy sleep hygiene habits, evidently producing a number of  negative impacts. This can include poor health, lack of concentration, increased irritability and agitation, impaired judgment, and chronic insomnia by not equipping our bodies the sleep they deserve.

Healthy Habits to Try

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average individual needs at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Specifically, for adults between the ages of 18 and 64 a total of 7-9 hours of sleep are required, where only 7 -8 hours of sleep are needed for adults over the age of 65. Below is a list of some helpful tips commonly utilized to build and improve healthy sleep hygiene:

    1. Develop a standardized bedtime routine
      • (i.e. drink a tea, wash your face, brush your teeth, read a book, etc.)
    2. Establish consistent bed times and wake up times – and stick to them!
    3. Make your bedroom and sleep space an inviting sanctuary
      • (i.e. comfy pillows, blankets, block out light, use an essential oil diffuser, etc.)
    4. Limit or avoid daytime naps
    5. Avoid mental or physical stimulation 1-2 hours before bedtime
    6. Eliminate the use of electronics during your bedtime routine as much as possible
    7. Get active and exercise daily
    8. Restrict caffeine intake at least several hours before you plan to go to bed
    9. Ensure you get some outdoor time and fresh air daily
    10. Practice mindfulness or meditation if trouble falling asleep

If you are struggling with getting a good quality sleep or maintaining healthy sleep hygiene habits then try implementing some of these tips into your routine to see what may work for you. If you are looking for additional sleep strategies or someone to talk to about what may be interfering with your sleep hygiene, then please contact me today to schedule your free 15-minute consultation.

References

National Sleep Foundation (2020). Sleep Hygiene. Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/sleep-hygiene

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