Friday 17th March 2023 marks World Sleep Day, a global call to action to celebrate healthy sleep. This year’s theme is “Sleep is essential for health”. In this blog post, Assistant Psychologist Adrianne Amri shares some tips on supporting positive sleep hygiene.
Sleep is essential to humans, just like air, water and food. When necessary, people can cope without sleep for periods of time, but the longer we are awake the stronger the urge to sleep becomes. Sleep serves a restorative purpose, both psychologically and physiologically. Sleep is important for general physical health, restoring energy, repairing injuries or illness, growth, psychological well-being and mood, concentration, and memory. People vary in terms of how much sleep they need – but the average sleep duration for adults is 6-8 hours per night and a ‘good sleeper’ takes around 30 mins to fall asleep and will awake once or twice.
Stages of sleep
Effects of lack of sleep
Lack of sleep can lead to:
- Poor concentration and memory
- Impaired judgement and reaction time
- Irritability and other mood disturbances
- Poor physical coordination
There are many more consequences of sleep deprivation, and the seriousness of the effects depends on the severity of the sleep deprivation.
What is sleep hygiene?
Sleep is vital to a healthy, balanced life, and ‘Sleep Hygiene’ is used to describe good sleep habits. Here are some things to consider before creating your own sleep hygiene rituals.
At Care in Mind, we encourage the young people within our services to develop a sleep hygiene plan, for the hour before bedtime. This might include things such as:
- avoiding electronic devices
- listening to chilled music or a sleep story
- use of a gratitude journal to reflect on the day
- Lighting a scented candle or smelling lavender
- Use an eye mask
- Do some bed yoga or relaxing stretches
- Drink a glass of milk or a calming tea
Completing a sleep diary can help identify patterns and what works or doesn’t work to aid you in getting a good night’s sleep. As part of this it can be helpful to think about your mood, fatigue and activity levels throughout the day, what you’ve consumed prior to going to be including stimulants, and time of going to bed. First thing in the morning, think about how long it took to fall asleep, how many times you woke through the night, how long you slept and how you felt on waking.