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Sleep Hygiene

No matter the Challenge

The Sun will rise.
  • August 2023
  • /
  • Morgan Lavender, LCMHC, CCTP-II

The Importance of Sleep Hygiene.

Sleep hygiene has been a buzz word lately, but what exactly is it? Sleep hygiene is the practice of behaviors and patterns associated with healthy sleep habits. Sounds easy enough, but with today’s blue light emissions, high stress and never ending to-do lists or the good ole’ bedtime anxiety spiral, proper sleep hygiene is not always easy to accomplish. We know the research tells us that there is a direct correlation between sleep hygiene and mental health, so learning why and how to prioritize rest can be a game changer for our journey to health and wellness.

Remember that everyone’s sleep habits and sleep needs are different. What matters most is finding a routine and habit that works best for you and your lifestyle.

Why is Sleep such a big deal?

Sleep is a pillar for mental wellness as it allows for our brains to heal, reset and recharge! When we consistently neglect our sleep, we deprive ourselves of that reset time, and continue to operate on a half charged battery all day. By addressing sleep, and achieving the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night (2021) we can improve the following:

Emotional Resilience:

Emotional resilience is the ability to manage stress, emotions and cope with life’s various challenges. Without adequate restful sleep, our emotional responses may become erratic, overwhelming and reactive which can make it difficult to manage the day to day tasks.

Mood Regulation:

Research shows us that chronic sleep deprivation is linked to irritability, mood swings, depressive symptoms and worsened anxiety.

Cognitive Functioning:

Brain fog is a real thing! A well-rested mind remains more alert, focused and capable of processing information efficiently. Sleep deprivation and poor sleep hygiene results in poor memory recall, lack of concentration and poor decision making abilities.

Hormone Balance:

Sleep and hormones are a delicate balance and lack of sleep can be detrimental to hormone levels which impact our moods, appetite, metabolism, gut health and anxiety/depressive symptoms.

Neurological Reset:

When we sleep our brains undergo several critical processes which contribute to memory consolidation, problem-solving, creativity, and hormone resets/regulation.

Small Changes You Can Make for Healthier Sleep Hygiene

Create a consistent sleep schedule.

This looks like aiming to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day in order to regulate and prime our body’s internal clock so that those alarms become less necessary and you can tap into self sleep/wake windows more naturally.

Refine your bedtime routine.

Developing a bedtime routine signals to our body that it is time to wind down. We recommend turning off overhead lights, practicing breathing or gentle stretching or even taking a warm bath.

Make your space perfect for sleep!

Experts recommend a temperature between 68-72 degrees, with the room dark, quiet and with minimal distractions. Try lavender pillow spray, or a sound machine to induce a calming environment with your senses.

Limit screen time.

The blue light emitted by phones, TV and computers interferes with our body’s production of melatonin (which is the hormone responsible for regulating sleep). Screens also activate our minds with entertainment, or news which often signals that we need to stay awake. Try limiting devices an hour before bedtime. Read a book or magazine instead!

Watch what you consume before bedtime.

Eating large, heavy meals, caffeine or alcohol all impact our ability for restful sleep. It may also be helpful to limit fluid intake an hour before bedtime to reduce bathroom breaks in the middle of the night!

Exercise regularly in order to regulate sleep patterns.

Try not to exercise too close to bedtime as this tends to energize our system making sleep difficult!

Limit naps throughout the day which can interfere with nighttime sleep. Research** shows us that while a 20-30 minute power nap can give us the boost we need to make it through the day, any more than that could have the opposite effect and create less resultful, restorative nighttime sleep.

Use your bed only for sleeping.

Try and train your brain to associate your bed exclusively for sleeping. Avoid using it for work, homework or other mentally stimulating activities.

Up your sunlight exposure!

Our slogan emphasizes the importance of the sun, and one of its benefits include the positive impact on sleep hygiene. Exposure to natural sunlight during the day helps regulate our internal sleep/wake clocks. Try exposing yourself to sunlight within the first 15 minutes of waking to signal your internal clock to become energized and throughout the day to maintain awareness of when the sun begins to set, and our natural wind downtime can ensue.

Seek professional help.

If you are consistently struggling with sleep despite trying these tips, consult with a medical healthcare professional or sleep scientist on possible explanations and interventions.

Remember that everyone’s sleep habits and sleep needs are different. What matters most is finding a routine and habit that works best for you and your lifestyle! By prioritizing sleep, and our sleep habits, we can take active steps in embracing restorative and regenerative functions to our brains, improvements in our emotional well-being and improved mental health.


Better Sleep to maintain mental health (2021) NAMI California. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/sleep/how-much-sleep#:~:text=Experts%20recommend%20that%20adults%20sleep,or%20more%20hours%20a%20night.