The Importance of Sleep Hygiene

We’ve all heard of personal hygiene, but what exactly is sleep hygiene? According to Dr. Sonia Smith, owner and practitioner of Emerald Coast Sleep Consultants, LLC., sleep hygiene describes the activities and practices that people do every night in preparation for a restful, restorative night of sleep.

“Sleep hygiene includes personal activities, as well as factors in the environment, that can either help to improve sleep or prevent people from falling asleep and staying asleep,” Dr. Smith said.

Although practicing good sleep hygiene is beneficial for everyone, establishing a bedtime routine is the most important sleep hygiene practice for children. Other good practices include turning off electronic devices one to two hours before bed, relaxation before bed, and preparing the household environment for sleep.

Dr. Smith said problems such as getting children to settle down for the night, multiple night awakenings, and problems with daytime functioning due to fatigue may be the result of poor sleep hygiene.  Avoiding caffeine prior to bedtime, dimming bright lights in the home and limiting heavy meals before bed are positive sleep hygiene measures.  Eliminating electronics one to two hours before bed— including television, cell phones, tablets and computers—may also enhance your child’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Practice good sleep hygiene every day to help maximize your child’s chances of achieving a restful night’s sleep. “Establish a bedtime routine that works for the entire family and stick to it as much as possible,” Dr. Smith said. “Practice makes perfect.”

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