blog | 05.02.21
Sleep Hygiene – What Is It?
In order to experience the health benefits associated with a good night’s sleep, the average adult requires 7-9 hours of sleep per night. However, statistics show that many adults sleep less than the minimum requirement due to a variety of sleep disruptions and disorders, such as insomnia or sleep apnea. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to minimize disruptions and improve overall sleep hygiene.
What Is Sleep Hygiene and Why Is It Important?
Sleep hygiene refers to the behaviors and practices that lead to healthy sleeping habits. It covers a wide range of behaviors, including your diet, daily schedule, and exercise routines – as these ultimately affect your quality of sleep.
The reason sleep hygiene is so important is that it has a significant impact on your overall health. Sleep, or the lack thereof, has been associated with risk for conditions like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Furthermore, sleep deprivation hinders one’s cognitive functions, including memory, alertness, and mental wellbeing. You might feel more physically and mentally fatigued when you don’t get enough sleep, which can negatively impact various aspects of your personal and professional life.
Who Needs It?
To put it simply, everyone needs good sleep hygiene. In contrast to adult sleep recommendations, growing children need to log even more hours of rest. Newborns require at least 14-17 hours, while teenagers need 8-10 to function well.
However, adults are at particular risk for sleep deprivation, mainly due to the demands of their everyday lives. Work is often the main hindrance to getting the right amount of sleep, especially for those working in high-stress environments. In fact, research has shown that police officers and healthcare workers suffer from sleep deprivation more than other professions – with approximately 50% reporting less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per night.
That said, you don’t need a high-stress career to justify building better sleep habits. Anyone can — and should — improve their sleep hygiene for better health.
How Can You Improve It?
For most people, improving sleep quality can be achieved by making a few simple adjustments.
Develop a consistent sleep schedule: Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule to reinforce your circadian rhythm (your body’s internal clock) is key. To do this, you’ll need to adjust a few personal habits that could be messing with your internal clock. This includes limiting your caffeine intake, exercising regularly to burn energy, avoiding napping during the day, and managing stress.
Create an ideal sleep environment: A cool, dark, and quiet room is the ideal setting for a good night’s sleep. Invest in a quality mattress, linens, and, of course, pillows – and ensure that your bedding is washed weekly. Be sure to find a pillow that’s right for you – like Spry Pure’s filtered pillow, which blocks germs, dust mites, sweat, and more from collecting inside your pillow. Lighting is also key, so look into options such as blackout curtains or a good eye mask to keep the light out, and if you have noisy neighbors, a good pair of earplugs should also do the trick!
If the above changes don’t work for you, consider seeking advice from a medical professional for suggestions to improve your sleep quality. For serious symptoms, you should make an appointment to see a dedicated sleep doctor.
Improving your sleep hygiene will take time and dedication, but being mindful and taking the necessary steps to improve your quality of sleep will be sure to set you on a path to a healthier lifestyle.