Sleep Hygiene

How often have you heard that sleep is important? We commonly hear why sleep is essential and how much sleep we should be getting. But how can we improve the quality of sleep we get? These are frequently asked questions that we can hopefully shed some light on.

What is Sleep Hygiene? Sleep hygiene refers to the habits we form around sleep and how they affect our functioning on a daily basis. This includes our sleep environment and behaviors in the hours leading up to getting into bed each night. These factors can largely contribute to sleep quality (or lack thereof).

Why is Good Sleep Hygiene Important? Obtaining proper sleep hygiene promotes restful sleep which can increase quality of life especially in areas of mental and physical well-being and productivity. Major benefits of adhering to good sleep hygiene can include increases in energy and memory.

Signs of Inadequate Sleep Hygiene:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Excessive fatigue during the day
  • Waking up throughout the night
  • Lack of motivation
  • Moodiness such as irritability, agitation, lower frustration tolerance

The collective effects of poor sleep can increase the likelihood of some physical and psychological detriments. Prolonged poor sleep cause elevated risk of:

  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke

Psychological health may also be negatively affected by poor sleep and can elevate anxiety or depression symptoms. If you already experience these symptoms, poor quality of sleep can worsen them and interfere with daily functioning.

Ways to Improve Sleep Hygiene

  • Have a routine: Try to consistently go to sleep at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning
  • Eliminate electronic devices including TVs, phones, and computers 90 minutes prior to bed
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large meals at least 2 hours prior to bedtime
  • Ensure your space is dark, quiet, by lessening noise and blocking light out
  • Ensure your space is a comfortable temperature
  • Taking 30 minutes-an hour every evening to wind down before going to sleep will help to regulate your sleep schedule as well as prepare your brain and body for bedtime making it easier to fall asleep over time.