It is common for kids and teens to balk at the idea of a standard bedtime, but routine sleep habits are not just for kids. Sleep hygiene, which is simply the promotion of regular and restful sleep, is as important as good nutrition, regular exercise, and stress management for the development and maintenance of a healthy body and mind. Most people do not realize the potential dangers of sleep deprivation and fail to employ adequate proactive measures to maximize the effectiveness and restorative nature of their sleep.
Educate yourself on the dangers.
Did you know…?
- it takes your body a week to recover from one night of sleep deprivation
- sleepiness slows down your thought processes, impairs memory and makes learning difficult
- poor sleep habits have been linked to poor eating habits, obesity, diabetes and heart disease
- lack of sleep reduces your response time so that driving drowsy is as dangerous as driving drunk
- lack of sleep can negatively impact your mood, causing irritability, anger, and poor stress coping
- chronic sleepiness puts you at greater risk for depression
- adolescents who stay up too late are more likely to use alcohol and drugs
- sleep deprivation is a method of torture in some countries?
Don’t torture yourself physically or mentally. Follow these sleep hygiene tips to promote healthful sleep habits for a healthy body and mind.
Sleep Hygiene Tips
The US Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) suggests the following for good sleep:
Tips for Adults:
- Go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning.
- Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot or too cold.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable and use it only for sleeping and not for other activities, such as reading, watching TV, or listening to music. Remove all TVs, computers, and other “gadgets” from the bedroom.
- Physical activity may help promote sleep, but not within a few hours of bedtime.
- Avoid large meals before bedtime.
Tips for Adolescents/Young Adults:
- Avoid caffeinated drinks after lunch.
- Avoid bright light in the evening.
- Avoid arousing activities around bedtime (e.g., heavy study, text messaging, getting into prolonged conversations, including online conversations).
- Expose yourself to bright light upon awakening in the morning.
- While sleeping in on weekends is permissible, it should not be more than 1–2 hours past your usual wake
- time, to avoid disrupting your circadian rhythm governing sleepiness and wakefulness.
- Avoid pulling an “all-nighter” to study.