Do you know what “sleep hygiene” is?
As weird as it sounds it’s really pretty simple.
Sleep hygiene is a set of habits that help you get to sleep.
But as young professionals staring down a 40 hour work week, with friends and boyfriends/girlfriends squished in too, good sleep habits aren’t usually top of our priority list.
Good news is, most of us can function on limited sleep. Because of this, I personally am very guilty of squeezing in a whole heap more than I should, including things I could probably do without like pointless Netflix binges and too many night’s out.
Bad news is, functioning on minimal sleep sucks and is deeply impacting our productivity and overall life experience.
Sounds dramatic. But it’s pretty accurate.
From 2016 to 2017 inadequate sleep cost Australia $26.2 billion financially, which included $17.9 billion worth of lost productivity in the workplace.
These impacts to productivity are felt right across the board. From people in the workplace, to students and apprentices studying right across the country.
Today, 40% of Australians get inadequate sleep. Lack of sleep is also said to cause about 23% of Australian motor vehicle accidents. It’s a direct contributor to fatalities in the workplace, work-related accidents, poor learning and decision-making outcomes, heart disease, obesity, depression and a range of other serious health conditions.
Inadequate sleep negatively impacts quality performance in the workplace. Creativity, productivity and sociability all benefit from good sleep.
So while our programming may tell us it’s normal or even admirable to be exhausted, we need to keep reminding ourselves that it isn’t. Hence this post about sleep hygiene. Because if you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, it’s time to get real about sleep.
- Our internal body clock, known as our circadian rhythm, influences sleep and other important functions like temperature, metabolism and hormones
- Our bodies are designed to be awake during daylight hours and asleep at night time when the world is dark
- Over time our sleep patterns have changed as the modern world generates more and more artifical light during night time hours
- Light from electronics like computers and phones emits at wavelengths that affect our major sleep-promoting hormone called melatonin
- Exposing ourselves to artifical light can hinder the production of melatonin, meaning its harder to fall asleep and harder to get quality rest once we eventually do drift off
So with that knowledge in mind, what can we actually do to start getting better sleep? Below you’ll find a number of tips and tricks I’ve been testing out over the last few months. While some of them may seem tricky at first (like avoiding your iPhone before bed), they’re all pretty straightforward.
Simple sleep hygiene:
- Aim to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night – to get the hang of it, use the Bed Time app on your iPhone to remind you when its nearing time for sleep
- Avoid electronics before bed – get away from your devices, computers and TV at least half an hour before you hit the hay
- Tap into your circadian rhythm – try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day (yes, even on weekends #sorrynotsorry)
Ready to ramp it up a notch?
- Avoid caffeine after 2pm and avoid alcohol a few hours before sleep
- Keep it dark – rid your bedroom from artifical light from things like digitial alarm clocks and phone chargers that light up
- Keep it cool – research suggests our bodies sleep better in cooler climates so set your aircon to about 18 degrees or switch your blankets to lighter sheets during the summer months
Happy sleeping! Until next time,