Alaska Sleep Education Center

Sleep Resources: Healthy Sleep Habits and Better Sleep Hygiene

Posted by Brett Armstron on Sep 15, 2020 6:44:00 AM

Are you tossing and turning at night trying to get a good night's sleep? I constantly had this problem until I found helpful sleep resources to get more shut-eye. They can help you catch Z’s better if counting sheep doesn’t work.

Besides learning tips & tricks to sleep better, you should also learn about sleep hygiene. This involves issues like sleep schedules, creating nightly routines, and following healthy daily habits.

How Common Is Sleep Deprivation?

How’s common is sleep deprivation?

 

The Problem

Sleep deprivation can become a major health issue over time. In general, sleep experts recommend that people get 7 to 8 hours of shut-eye every night, according to Cedars-Sinai. The results of sleep deprivation can include conditions like:

Mood swings
Depression
Weaker immune system
Forgetfulness

The problem is a global problem since a 2016 survey shows that 20% of the world’s population is sleep-deprived, according to NDTV.

 

What Is Sleep Deprivation?

It’s critical to note that sleep deprivation isn’t actually a particular disease. It typically results from life situations or other diseases. In the hustle and bustle of the Digital Age, many people are sacrificing sleep to become more productive. However, sleep deprivation actually has the opposite effect.

Not only is lack of sleep becoming more widespread worldwide, but it also becomes a greater issue among older adults. Many experts believe that seniors need the same amount of sleep as younger adults. However, they tend to sleep lightly compared to younger adults.

 

 

How to Tell If You’re Sleep Deprived (video)

 

What Causes Sleep Deprivation?

There are actually several including:

Aging

People 65+ years old might have problems sleeping due to aging, medications, or health issues.

Sleep disorders

Some examples found in current sleep resources include sleep apnea, insomnia, and restless leg syndrome

Illness

Sleep deprivation is common among people with conditions like chronic pain, Alzheimer’s, stroke, etc.

Other causes

Some other possible causes include schedule changes, stress, etc.

 

Do’s of Healthy Sleep:

Manage Stress

Stress is actually an effective tool to help deal with tough situations. However, such worries can actually interfere with your sleep schedule. If you want to create a to-do list for the next day, just create it before you go to sleep. You can also jot down any ideas you have in the middle of the night so you’ll “remember” them in the morning.

Stress management is important because it can reduce a lot of physical/mental effects. Consider various stress busters like:

Meditation/Yoga
Exercise
TV/Movies
Hobbies
Gym workouts

 

Create a Sleep-friendly Environment

Make sure your bedroom or other sleep environment is dark, quiet, and cool. This can help you to sleep like a baby. Fun Fact: Bats group together in dark caves to create a sleep-inducing environment for daytime sleep.  

Humans can take a similar approach. For example, you can use dark/heavy curtains to reduce outdoor light in your room. Wear earplugs or use a white-noise appliance to reduce outside noises. You can also block light with an eye mask.   

Set a Sleep Schedule

Besides taking this step, make sure to stick to it! Take some time to set aside a maximum of 8 hours for sleep time. If you over-sleep, this can actually cause issues like making you groggy. If you end up getting 7 hours of sleep, that’s also OK.

Do Daytime Physical Activity

This can include your job, exercise, housework, etc. If you stay active, it can help you feel tired enough right before bedtime. However, avoid late-night workouts, for example, since this could actually prevent you from falling asleep.

 

Don’ts of Healthy Sleep

Don’t Be a Night Clock-watcher

While you should avoid clock-watching at work, it’s also a good step to take when you’re trying to fall asleep. If you do this when you’re trying to doze off or awaken at midnight, for example—it can boost stress. That, in turn, can make it tougher to catch Z’s. Simply turn the clock face, so it’s facing away from you.

  

Don’t Consume Anti-Sleep Substances

This includes various ones like caffeine and nicotine since such substances can prevent getting a good night’s sleep. Make sure to avoid these substances between 4 to 6 hours before bedtime:

Sodas
Chocolate
Tea
Coffee
Pain relievers (some)

You should also avoid tobacco products like cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and cigars right before bedtime.

 

The Science of Sleep & Caffeine (video)

 

Don’t Sleep Too Much during the Day

There’s certainly nothing wrong with taking a power nap during the day. That said, too much daytime napping can actually interfere with your nighttime sleeping and cause similar effects as sleeping too much. If you take a nap make sure to limit it to half an hour and avoid late-day napping.

The exception of late-day naps is if you work night shifts. In that situation, you might need such cat naps to help compensate your sleep debt.

 

What Is Sleep Hygiene?

What is sleep hygiene?

Overview

This involves following certain daily routines and creating a bedroom environment that can help you get better sleep more often. There are various steps you can take to achieve this goal. They include following a pre-bedtime routine, creating a comfy bedroom environment, and even following certain daytime habits.

Keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to sleep hygiene. It’s important to customize it, so it suits your particular needs. It can help you to fall asleep faster and wake up fully recharged like a smartphone battery.

 

The Importance of Sleep Hygiene

Studies show that using good sleep hygiene habits is important for good health, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Sleepers can experience benefits such as positive reinforcement and making a healthy lifestyle more automatic. Meanwhile, bad habits can have the opposite effect and trigger negative results.

 

Bad Sleep Hygiene

There are several signs that you’re experiencing bad sleep hygiene: 

Many sleep disturbances
Difficulty falling asleep
Daytime sleepiness
Lack of consistent sleep quality

These are some of the various signs that you should make tweaks to improve sleep hygiene. If you’re experiencing one or more of them, then you should definitely consider tweaking your sleep environment and/or schedule.

 

Top Tips to Improve Sleep Hygiene:

 How important is sleep to you?Make Sleep a Priority

 Many people sacrifice sleep because they think it can improve their daily life. However, not getting a full 7 or 8 hours of sleep can actually have a negative effect on your working, studying, or exercising. If you’re sleeping one-third of your life, it’s a good thing!

 

Unplug Electronics

Make sure to set aside 30 to 60 device-free minutes before bedtime. Smartphones/tablets, desktops/laptops, etc. can lower melatonin production and cause mental stimulation, which can both make it tougher to fall asleep faster.


Wake up at the Same Time

Try to wake up at the same time, whether it’s Sunday, Wednesday, or your birthday. This helps to maintain uniform biorhythms, so you get consistent sleep every night like clockwork.

 

Make Small Tweaks 

This is a better option versus wholesale changes. Make small, gradual changes to help you get used to your new sleep schedule/environment.


Summary

If you’re tossing and turning at night instead of getting a good night’s sleep, then you should consider some sleep resources. They can help you get into a sleep schedule, create a sleep-friendly environment, and even follow a day-time schedule for better night-time slumber.

If you believe you have difficulty sleeping due to physical aches and pains, have PTSD or other similar mental health conditions, it is best to personally consult a medical or psychological health professional. This article will only provide general information and should not be used for self-diagnosis and self-treatment.

Alaska Sleep Clinic is the most comprehensive sleep center in Alaska and the only one with a psychiatrist on-staff specializing in sleep, Dr.Angela Randazzo. Call ASC today @ 907-770-9104 .

 Download Self Referral Form

 

Topics: Sleep Tips, sleep habits, sleep hygiene

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