Sleep hygiene refers to the optimal nightly practices and habits that contribute to good sleep quality and quantity. Both quality and quantity matter. Good sleep hygiene is essential for maintaining physical health, mental well-being, memory, optimal sports performance, and overall quality of life. Many people struggle with sleep issues, and poor sleep hygiene can contribute to, or worsen, these issues. In this lesson, we will discuss the importance of sleep hygiene, and provide some tips, tools, and strategies for improving your sleep hygiene. Then, you will learn how to coach your clients to do the same, and even learn about a new coaching niche opportunity.
Why is Sleep Hygiene Important?
Sleep is an essential aspect of our lives, and it plays a critical role in our physical, emotional and mental health. This is true for everyone, regardless if they are one of the few people who may say, “I only need 4-5 hours of sleep a night.” Ironically, when people are under slept, they often think they are performing better than their results suggest.
When we sleep, our body has time to repair and restore itself, and our brain processes and consolidates memories and learning. Good sleep hygiene can help improve the quality and quantity of our sleep, which can, in turn, have significant benefits for our overall well-being and happiness. Lack of quality, deep sleep contributes to numerous cognitive issues in an acute and chronic way.
Numerous studies have shown that poor sleep hygiene can lead to a range of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mental health issues such as depression, memory loss and anxiety. Lack of sleep can also impact our cognitive performance, including our ability to focus, concentrate, make effective decisions, and learn new information no matter how simple. Moreover, sleep deprivation can affect our emotional regulation, leading to increased stress, irritability, and mood swings. This, in turn, adversely affects our relationships.
Simple and Effective Strategies for Improving Sleep Hygiene for You and Your Clients
Here are some simple and effective tips for improving your sleep hygiene:
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Yes, it can be challenging. Yet, it’s also worth it. This helps regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, and circadian rhythm, which can improve the quality of your sleep (and life in general).
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine/ritual: Establish a relaxing bedtime routine that helps you unwind and prepare for sleep. This could include taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, praying, meditating, breathing exercises, or listening to calming music.
- Create a sleep-optimized environment: Make sure your bedroom is quiet, cool (about 67 degrees), and very dark. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows and use comfortable bedding. It’s 1/3 of your life. Don’t cut corners.
- Avoid stimulants: Avoid consuming caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol close to bedtime, as they can interfere with your sleep quality. We cannot emphasize this enough.
- Limit screen time: Avoid using electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops in the bedroom. The blue light emitted from these devices can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep. Numerous studies confirm this fact.
- Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help improve the quality of your sleep. However, avoid exercising close to bedtime, as it can be stimulating. The only exception may be gentle yoga.
- Watch your diet: Eat a healthy, balanced diet, and avoid heavy meals close to bedtime. Also, avoid drinking too much liquid before bed, as it can lead to disruptions in your sleep. A full stomach can also cause acid reflux due to laying down and having the sphincter at the top of your stomach allow stomach acid to go up into your esophagus.
- Manage stress: Stress and anxiety can interfere with your sleep. Manage your stress levels by practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. Learn about careers as a Certified Stress Management Coach.
- Seek professional help if needed: If you have persistent sleep problems despite making changes to your sleep hygiene, consider seeking professional help from a sleep specialist or your healthcare provider.
Good sleep hygiene is critical for maintaining physical health, mental well-being, and overall quality of life. Poor sleep hygiene can contribute to a range of health problems and affect our cognitive and emotional functioning. By adopting healthy sleep habits and making changes to our sleep environment and routines, we can improve the quality and quantity of our sleep. If you have persistent sleep problems, consider seeking professional help.
Take a moment to learn about exciting and diverse career opportunities as a Spencer Institute Certified Sleep Science Coach.