What is sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene includes all of the things that we do, to take good care of our sleep.
Why is good sleep hygiene important?
Getting a good night’s sleep each night is important for physical and mental health. Good sleep hygiene helps us to fall asleep easily each night (short sleep onset).
Everyone, from babies, to children & adolescents, to younger & older adults, can benefit from practicing good sleep hygiene.
How do I know if my sleep hygiene is poor?
These are some of the signs of poor sleep hygiene:
- Taking too long to fall asleep (more than 10-20 minutes after getting into bed).
- Waking up many times, throughout the night
- Not being able to fall back asleep quickly & easily
- Waking up too soon (well before needed or wanted)
- Not feeling refreshed or restored upon wakening
- Feeling sleepy throughout the next day
- Feeling generally irritable or cranky the next day “for no reason”
Some other signs of poor sleep hygiene are:
- problems with attention & concentration
- feeling hungry all of the time
- unexplained weight gain, or difficulty with managing weight
- decreased productivity & performance
- feeling depressed and/or anxious
- frequent infections
Denise Dixon, Ph.D.
Dr Dixon is a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in New York State. She sees children, adolescents, & adults, & specializes in evidenced-based treatments of various mental health problems. She is dedicated to helping people to find hope; discover their inner strength; and maximize their personal growth.
Good sleep hygiene helps us to fall asleep easily each night (short sleep onset), so that we can fall asleep like this cutie (may need to reload page to see this gif):
How can I improve my sleep hygiene?
Click on the Slideshow below, to learn ways to improve sleep hygiene.
Set up your bedroom to be cool, dark and quiet
Bedtime routines are not just for babies and small children
No caffeine or nicotine close to bedtime
For alcohol, moderation is key
What about bedtime snacks?
Make sure to exercise
Daily exercise has been shown to dramatically improve nighttime sleep quality. Of course, it is generally a good idea to avoid strenuous workouts close to bedtime, if you are someone who needs more time to unwind before bedtime.
What about naps?
We all need adequate exposure to natural daytime light.
This is especially important for folks that work indoors. We all need daytime exposure to sunlight, as well as complete darkness at night, to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle. This is especially true during the winter months.
SLEEP HYGIENE REFERENCES AND RESOURCES:
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