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Hygiene for Sleep?

Wake Up…do stuff…do more stuff…do even more stuff….


There are times in our lives when we become so overwhelmed with the demands on our time and attention that the “hamster wheel” in our mind fails to realize when it is time to stop. In a fast-paced generation that hinges on convenience, instant gratification, and the demands of life (i.e., finances to pay for food, rent, etc.), sleep can sometimes become runner-up to daily tasks that seem to always require our immediate attention. As a result, it is easy to become inundated with responsibilities, deadlines, and worries, so much so that sleep becomes elusive.


However, research emphasizes the importance of adequate sleep, particularly as it relates to one’s vitality, or “positive feeling of having energy available to the self” (Nix et al., 1999 as cited by Schmitt et al., 2017). Additionally, sleep has been found to increase our ability to process emotions and increase our physical well-being(Guadagni et al., 2017; Wong et al., 2013). So, while sleep may seem like a mundane activity, its importance towards mental health, self-actualization, and overall physical well-being is critical.


So how can we achieve better sleep? Can’t I just close my eyes? Yes! But for others this process might require that they adjust their environment and body to be more open to sleep.


Practicing good sleep hygiene is an intentional process that helps to create an atmosphere to foster better sleep patterns. It challenges you to alter your daily schedule and poor nighttime habits that could be negatively impacting your ability to rest. Here are a few tips and tricks to help encourage better sleep (Clinic, 2020).

  • Create a Sleep Schedule: Go to bed and get up at the same time each day to help your body establish a consistent routine.

  • Pay Attention to What You Eat and Drink: Avoid heavy meals before bedtime. Also limit nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol intake before bed as they can disrupt your quality of sleep.

  • Set the Mood: Dim the lights to create a room that is ideal for sleep and consider doing a relaxing activity, such as taking a bath to help promote sleep. Also, minimize distractions in your room, such as watching TV or completing work in bed.

  • Limit Daytime Naps: Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you choose to nap, limit yourself to up to 30 minutes and avoid doing so late in the day.

  • Get Physical! Engaging in regular physical activities during the day can also help to promote sleep, as long as it is not too close to your bedtime.

  • Manage Your Worries: Try to minimize your concerns or worries before going to bed, by becoming more organized, setting priorities, as well as scheduling and delegating tasks for the next day.

These are great tips to have you headed into a peaceful slumber. However, if you find that you are still having difficulty initiating/maintaining sleep, or managing your worries overall, please contact Regent Psychological Services Center (PSC) to help you further explore and cope with these difficulties.


Now, get to counting those sheep!


References

Clinic, M. (2020). 6 steps to better sleep. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379.


Guadagni, V., Burles, F., Valera, S., Hardwicke-Brown, E., Ferrara, M., Campbell, T., & Iaria, G. (2017). The relationship between quality of sleep and emotional empathy. Journal of Psychophysiology, 31(4), 158–166. https://doi-org.ezproxy.regent.edu/10.1027/0269-8803/a000177


Schmitt, A., Belschak, F. D., & Den Hartog, D. N. (2017). Feeling vital after a good night’s sleep: The interplay of energetic resources and self-efficacy for daily proactivity. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 22(4), 443–454. https://doi-org.ezproxy.regent.edu/10.1037/ocp0000041


Wong, M. L., Lau, E. Y., Wan, J. H., Cheung, S. F., Hui, C. H., & Mok, D. S. (2013). The interplay between sleep and mood in predicting academic functioning, physical health and psychological health: a longitudinal study. Journal of psychosomatic research, 74(4), 271–277. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2012.08.014


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