10 Healthy Sleep Hygiene Tips

On Sunday November 6th Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 am. Most of us love this day as we settle into bed on Saturday night knowing we will get an extra hour of sleep, unless you are on shift work. This night you work an extra hour.

Canadians are increasingly sleep deprived and sleep problems affect up to 45 per cent of the world’s population. It is estimated that 60 per cent of Canadian adults feel tired most of the time and get, on average, 6.9 hours of sleep a night which is less than the ideal of eight hours. Canadian research indicates 30 per cent of adults get fewer than six hours a night [1].

Being sleep deprived leads to increase incidences of car accidents, industrial disasters, and medical and other occupational errors. People who lack sufficient sleep are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity [2].

Losing even one hour of sleep can affect your ability to think properly and respond quickly but the quality of sleep is important –REM sleep best!  REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is when you do most active dreaming. Your eyes actually move back and forth during this stage.

During the night, your sleep moves back and forth between deep restorative sleep and more alert stages and dreaming (REM sleep) and form a complete sleep cycle. Each one of these cycles typically lasts about 90 minutes and repeats four to six times over the course of a night. Your REM sleep consolidates and processes the information you’ve learned during the day, forms neural connections that strengthen memory and improves the supply of your serotonin (happy or feel good hormone).

Let’s consider this extra hour of sleep a gift to getting you back on track to enough quality sleep EVERY night.

10 HEALTHY SLEEP HYGIENE TIPS:

  1. Fix a bedtime and an awakening time – try to keep it to plus/minus 30 minutes range every night/day.
  2. If you are in the habit of taking naps, do not exceed 30-45 minutes of daytime sleep.
  3. Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion 4 hours before bedtime.
  4. Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, green tea and many sodas (colas), as well as chocolate.
  5. Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4 hours before bedtime.
  6. Exercise regularly, but no later than 3 hours right before bed.
  7. Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated. Cooler rooms are generally more helpful.
  8. Turn off all electronic devices and watching TV at least 1 hour prior to sleeping.
  9. Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much day light as possible.
  10. Reserve the bed for sleep and sex. Don’t use the bed as an office, workroom or recreation room.

Resources

  1. Source: World Association of Sleep Medicine 2011 World Sleep Day. http://worldsleepday.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/WSD_Toolkit_2015_final.pdf
  2. Source: https://www.cdc.gov/features/dssleep/

Author: Elaine Chin

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