An Essential Guide To Sleep Hygiene: A Pyschologist’s Playbook

The Biggest challenges that most people get wrong when it comes to sleep hygiene (and why this matters)

by anamarshad1

About three years ago my office colleague Beti Maxey, was under significant stress, as a company manager she was involved in many office projects which kept her away from home and awake past midnight most nights.

What’s more, her husband’s career as an engineer took him across the country for weeks at a time.

MRS. Maxey was on the go so much during the day that she couldn’t understand why she wasn’t sleeping at night.

For those sleepless nights, she filled her bedroom with things to keep her busy, her crocheting tool, laptop, and remote control were by her bedside at all times.

“It would take me forever to sleep, then I would wake up and couldn’t go back to sleep,” says MRS. Maxey fell into a deep depression and wound up taking a leave of absence from office.

“I had problems going to sleep, and I had problems staying awake.”

It wasn’t until her daughter visited Florida to help with house chores and another daily task that MRS. Maxey sought help from the Cleveland clinic.

MRS. Maxey was diagnosed with sleep apnea and insomnia, people with untreated sleep apnea are unaware that they stop breathing repeatedly during sleep due to airway blockage.

Under the care of DR Michelle Drerup, PsyD, at Cleaveland sleep clinic’s sleep disorder center, MRS. Maxey was treated for her sleep apnea with continuous positive airways pressure (CPAP), a specially designed mask that pushes air into a patient’s airways to keep them open.

With the help of DR Michelle Drerup, MRS. Maxey is now sleeping through the night and waking up alert, ready to start her day.

“It seems as though [DR Drerup] could understand everyone’s problem,” says MRS. Maxey added that physicians helped patients figure out a system best suited for each individual.”

“Everyone had a chance to tell their story, and I think each person’s story helped everyone else,” says MRS. Maxey “it made me feel better just to know that I feel that way too, but I just didn’t know how to express it.”

What is Sleep Hygiene?

Sleep hygiene refers to a variety of practices with the common goal of improving the quality, quantity, and timing of sleep. The term was coined by Nathan Kline in an article published in 1946.

The article describes the concept’s importance to patient care and its fundamental relationship with overall health and well-being.

Though the original version was published over 70 years ago, sleep hygiene as a concept has only recently been accepted by the scientific and medical communities as viable and effective.

Sleep Hygiene is a behavioral and environmental practice developed in the late 1970s as a method to overcome people with acute to chronic insomnia.

Clinic experts assess the sleep Hygiene of people with insomnia and other conditions, such as depression, and offer recommendations based on the assessment.

Sleep Hygiene recommendations include:

Establishing a regular sleep schedule

Using naps with care

Not exercising physically and mentally too close to bedtime

Limiting Worry

Limiting Exposure to light in the hours before sleep

Getting out of bed if sleep doesn’t come

Not using the bed for anything but just to sleep and rest

Avoiding alcohol as well as nicotine, caffeine, and other stimulants in the hours before bedtime

And having a peaceful, comfortable, and dark sleep environment

History Of Sleep Hygiene

Let’s have a look at the history of sleep hygiene; In 1897 a Russian physician called Marie de Manaceine connected and hygiene for the first time.

She wrote the critically acclaimed book “sleep” its physiology, hygiene, and psychology which was translated into english and published by Walter Scott in London.

The earliest UK mention of sleep hygiene seems to be in the Sheffield and Rotherham independent on Wednesday April 5, 1899, which was reported on the competitions by the publishers Hachette et Cie to come up with the 10 best rule of hygiene.

Why is it important to know about sleep hygiene?

Sleep hygiene is important because it helps promote a good night’s sleep. Poor sleep hygiene can lead to problems such as insomnia, poor concentration, and poor overall health. There are many things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene, including establishing a regular bedtime routine, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, and creating a relaxing bedtime environment.

Is sleep hygiene always been a problem or has it become exacerbated?

People often ask whether the lack of sleep has always been a problem or something that has become more prominent in recent years. The answer is not a simple one but we can see by looking at a few different sources that the need for sleep hygiene has never been greater.

Research from the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) shows that 40 percent of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. NSF was founded in 1992 by the director of the Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania. Since then it has worked to improve sleep health and safety. The NSF is a non-profit organization

We all know the importance of sleep hygiene but is sleep hygiene always been a problem or has it become exacerbated. In a world where everyone is so busy, it is easy to run out of time for sleep.

Sleep Disorder Statistics

Below is a detailed compilation of interesting statistics that are similar to sleep and sleep disorders, from this compilation it will be apparent that there is a huge amount of sleep issues and sleepiness in our society.

The public health consequences of sleep disorder and sleepiness are staggering.

These are the sleeping disorder statistics:

50-70 Million U.S adults have a sleep disorder.

48.0% report snoring. 

37.9% reported unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once in the preceding month.

4.7% reported nodding off or falling asleep while driving at least once in the preceding month.

Drowsy driving is responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 non-fatal injuries annually.

Insomnia is the most common specific sleep disorder, with short-term issues reported by about 30% of adults and chronic insomnia by 10%.

25 Million adults have obstructive sleep apnea.

9-21% of women have obstructive sleep apnea.

24-31% of men have obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep Hygiene Tips   

Getting good sleep is important in maintaining health, there are several things that you can do to promote good sleep and sleep hygiene and ultimately get better sleep.

There are a few sleep hygiene techniques and tips:

(1): Maintain a regular sleep routine:

Go to bed at the same time, and wake up at the same time ideally your schedule will remain the same (+/- 20 minutes) every night of the week.

(2): Avoid daytime naps:

Naps decrease the “sleep debt” that is so necessary for easy sleep onset, each of us needs a certain amount of sleep per 24 hours period we need that amount, and we don’t need that.

When we take naps, it decreases the amount of sleep that we need the next night which may cause sleep fragmentation and difficulty initiating sleep and may lead to insomnia and sleep deprivation.

Don’t stay in bed awake for more than 5-10 minutes:

If you find your mind racing, or worrying about not being able to sleep during the middle of the night, get out of bed, and sit in a chair in the dark.

Do your mind race in the chair until you are sleepy, then return to bed no TV or internet during this period that will just stimulate you more than desire.

If this happens several times during the night that is Ok, just maintain your regular wake time, and try to avoid naps.

Don’t watch TV, use the computer, or read in bed:

When you watch TV or read in bed, you associated the bed with wakefulness the bed is reserved for two things ___ sleep and hanky-panky, the blue light from the screen can actually adversely affect your circadian rhythm.

Using an expensive pair of blue-light-blocking glasses 2 hours before bed has been shown to improve the quality and duration of sleep.

Drink caffeinated drinks with caution:

The effect of caffeine may last for several hours after ingestion, caffeine can fragment sleep, and cause difficulty initiating sleep, if you drink caffeine use it only before noon.

Clean Fresh Air:

Crack a window to make sure you have plenty of fresh air if you want to avoid a draft, use an air purifier that removes bacteria and odors from the room air.

Sleep Hygiene Checklist

The following sleeping hygiene checklist can improve and maintain good sleep hygiene:

Have a sleep Routine:

The body operates on a 24-hours internal clock this affects how it functions, including the way that it regulates temperature and moods.

Developing a consistent sleep-wake cycle helps keep the body’s clock regulated, to do this try waking up at the same time every day, including on weekends and holidays.

Then, work out a bedtime that allows for at least 7-hours of sleep every night.

Avoid certain foods and drinks before bed:

Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can keep the body awake, so avoid them at least 4-6 hours before bedtime some substances containing caffeine and nicotine include;

Coffee

Tea

Sodas, Such as Colas

Chocolates

Cigarettes

Certain medications including some cold, flu, and migraine medication

 

Also avoid alcohol, 4-6 hours before sleep, because it can badly affect the standard of sleep.

Relax before bedtime:

Creating a relaxing routine to unwind before bed helps signal to the body that it is the time for sleep.

Aim to avoid screens, such as on phones and laptops, for at least 1-2 hours before bed, the blue light on this screen can disrupt the production of melatonin, the hormone involved in sleep.

Other Tips:

The following strategies can also help improve the quality and regularity of sleep:

Get natural light in the morning upon waking

Get regular exercise during the day

Avoid napping after 2:30 P.M and for more than 20-30 minutes

Avoid checking the time of the night, which may cause or increase anxiety about sleep

Aim to maintain daytime activities, even if tired unless doing so is so dangerous

Avoid eating 2-3 hours before bed

Avoid vigorous exercise 4-hours before bed

what parents need to know about sleep for their kids

There are many factors that affect sleep for kids and teens today. They have too much technology, caffeine, and other stimulants before bedtime. You may think this would keep them awake, but it doesn’t. In fact, it makes them drowsy.

This can cause sleep deprivation, which can have a negative impact on their health and academics.

Sleep is a very important aspect of our lives. Every one of us needs to sleep for a certain number of hours every day. But there are many people who are not getting this much sleep. There are many reasons for this but one of the biggest reasons is the technology that is available today.

These technologies are making it so easy for us to spend more time on them, and as a result, we are spending less time sleeping. We should be aware of this and try to make sure that we have our sleep for the benefits it provides.

Sleep is as important as nutrition and activity for a person’s development and growth. No one knows this better than parents. There are a lot of aspects to sleep and there are many things that parents can do to help and support their children’s sleep. 

Conclusion:

A good sleep hygiene routine helps you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling more refreshed.

We hope this blog post has helped you find some new strategies that will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer so that your mind and body can rest as they need to!

If you have any other questions or concerns about getting a good night’s sleep, please contact us anytime at ___. Thank you for reading, we are always excited when one of our posts is able to provide useful information on a topic like this!

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