Signs of inadequate or poor sleep hygiene include: low energy, lack of motivation, daytime sleepiness, inability to concentrate, mood swings, poor decisions, difficulty falling asleep, and sleep disturbances.
Poor sleep hygiene can have a negative effect on your overall quality of life. Without sleep you can experience multiple symptoms including constant tiredness that further impacts your life on a daily basis.
Some ways to practice proper sleep hygiene include:
1. Reading an hour before bed can allow the mind to relax and decompress from daily stressors.
2. Reduce your screen time to at least 1.5 hours before you go to bed because staring at the screen can keep your mind racing and your eyes stimulated.
3. Wash your face, brush your teeth, and get comfortable in a good position in bed a half hour before you go to sleep.
4. Develop a consistent routine so your body knows what to expect each night.
5. Exercise regularly but be sure to not do this at least 2-3 hours before you are ready to go to sleep.
Results can vary based on consistency and amount of effort put into following proper sleep hygiene steps. Additionally, if not other caused by another medical condition, you may experience better sleep as soon as 1-2 days after practicing sleep hygiene.
Do not have caffeine after 3pm since caffeine is a stimulant which can keep you awake or interrupt your sleep.
Try to wake at the same time every day, even if you have off from work.
Avoid large meals and alcohol later in the day. If your stomach is full, you will not be able to rest comfortably.
It is time to reach out to a professional if you are constantly having trouble sleeping over a period of time and can see it affecting your everyday life. A physician can help by offering medication to help with sleeping better or sleep clinics can help diagnose and narrow down specific sleeping disorders and other sleep issues. A therapist can help treat other psychological underlying issues that may get in the way of experiencing a good night’s rest.
Some misconceptions about sleep hygiene include: your body gets used to getting fewer hours of sleep, you need less sleep as you get older, it doesn't matter when you sleep, your brain shuts down when you are asleep, and if you cannot sleep you should stay in bed.