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What is Sleep Hygiene?

Sleep is a universal human need that some people may struggle to get enough of, but what is considered enough? Well, that depends on a lot of things, your age for one. Some people can get away with less sleep and still appear to function – but that’s not exactly healthy. The average adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night (Watson et al., 2015), getting uninterrupted, peaceful sleep on a regular basis.


Sleep issues may arise for a variety of reasons, such as stress, anxiety, depression, or a poor sleep environment, and even certain lifestyle factors can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep: shift work, drinking caffeine into the afternoon and evening, nicotine usage, and alcohol consumption, to name a few (Irish et al., 2016).

Sleep Hygiene

It is important to look at these factors to see how they may be impacting your sleep. Sleep hygiene, or behavioural and environmental factors that promote healthy sleep on a regular basis, may help or hinder sleep duration and quality. These habits may involve creating a bedtime routine to help your mind and body get in the mindset of getting ready to sleep (Irish et al., 2016). What works for one person may not work for another, so it is about finding what works for you. These are tips to help with your sleep hygiene:

  • Create and maintain a relaxing bedtime routine.

  • Avoid consuming caffeine in the afternoons and evenings.

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Make your bedroom a quiet, calming place for you to promote sleep and relaxation, and set it to a cool and comfortable temperature.

  • Limit the use of electronics at least 30 minutes before bed.

  • If you can’t fall asleep for 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something else to help get you sleepy. Stay away from electronics!

  • Try to go to sleep at a time where you will get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

Getting Help


Talking to a counsellor may also help if you are experiencing sleep issues or just want to explore more about your own sleep hygiene. We can look at the thoughts and behaviours that may be affecting your sleep, as well as other factors affecting your mental health and well-being (Hershner & Shaikh, 2021).


Interested in looking more closely at your sleep hygiene or problems around your sleep? Book a consultation or counselling session with me here.


References


Hershner, S., & Shaikh, I. (2021, April 2). Healthy sleep habits. Sleep Education, American Academy of Sleep Medicine. https://sleepeducation.org/healthy-sleep/healthy-sleep-habits/


Irish, L. A., Kline, C. E., Gunn, H. E., Buysse, D. J., & Hall, M. H. (2015). The role of sleep hygiene in promoting public health: A review of empirical evidence. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 22, 23–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2014.10.001

Watson, N. F., Badr, M. S., Belenky, G., Bliwise, D. L., Buxton, O. M., Buysse, D., Dinges, D. F., Gangwisch, J., Grandner, M. A., Kushida, C., Malhotra, R. K., Martin, J. L., Patel, S. R., Quan, S. F., & Tasali, E. (2015). Recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult: A joint consensus statement of the American academy of sleep medicine and sleep research society. Sleep, 38(6), 843–844. https://doi.org/10.5665/sleep.4716

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