Sleep deprivation is a condition in which you simply aren’t getting enough sleep. Sleeping is an important part of overall health which many of us never can seem to get enough of. The amount of sleep we get can affect nearly all aspects of life. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [NIH] (2020) states that “your ability to function and feel well while you're awake depends on whether you're getting enough total sleep and enough of each type of sleep. It also depends on whether you're sleeping at a time when your body is prepared and ready to sleep”. We each have an internal body clock that is impacted by daily our circadian rhythm. This rhythm is impacted by light and darkness and can make us feel more tired at certain times of the day. When our rhythm is thrown off, or we are not getting adequate sleep, we can feel groggy and tired throughout the day. Sleep is an important occupation for overall functioning.
Sleep hygiene is a variety of routines and practices used to improve sleep.
Below are 12 tips for improving sleep hygiene, written by Matthew Walker Ph.D. (2018), a neuroscience and psychology professor at the University of California at Berkeley.
1. Set an 8-hour sleep schedule. Set an alarm to go to bed and to wake up.
2. Exercise 30 mins on most days. Do so at least 2 hours before sleeping.
3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine.
4. Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed. Heavy drinking impairs REM deep sleep.
5. Avoid large meals and large drinks before sleeping.
6. If possible, avoid medications that add to insomnia. Ask a doctor about medication effects on sleep and ask if you could take these medications earlier in the day.
7. Don’t take naps after 3 pm.
8. Make time for an activity to relax and unwind before sleeping.
9. Take a warm bath or shower before sleeping.
10. Cold bedroom (68-69 degrees F), dark bedroom, gadget-free bedroom. Turn the clocks time out of view.
11. 30 minutes of sunlight exposure each day.
12. If you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get up and complete a relaxing activity, and then try to sleep again.
Sleep deprivation and sleep deficiency. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency
Walker, M. (2018). Why we sleep: Unlocking the power of sleep and dreams. Penguin Random House.