A guide to good sleep hygiene

Good quality and amount of sleep is crucial for everyone’s physical and mental health. The average sleep length for an adult is 7 hours, but these days for many people (up to 45% of population) it is much less. Poor sleep affects our mood, cognitive performance, work performance and academic abilities.

Poor sleep habits include:

  1. Daytime napping at least twice a week
  2. Variable bedtime and wake-up time
  3. 2-3 times a week of extended times in bed
  4. Routine use of alcohol, tobacco or caffeine before bedtime
  5. Exercising too close to bedtime
  6. Exciting or emotionally upsetting activities before bedtime
  7. Non-sleep-related activities in bed (e.g. snacking, studying, watching tv, using mobiles)
  8. Sleeping in an uncomfortable bed
  9. Uncomfortable bedroom environment (e.g. too cold/hot/stuffy/bright)
  10. Increased mental activity in bed (e.g. thinking, planning)

So how can you improve your sleep habits?

  1. Sleep as much as needed to feel refreshed but no more
  2. Stick to regular bedtime and wake-up time
  3. Regular daily exercise in the late afternoon or early evening
  4. Ensure a calm, quiet bedroom, avoiding loud, sudden noises
  5. Ensure the room isn’t too warm
  6. Ensure you are not hungry, for many people warm milk aids in sleep
  7. Avoid caffeine prior to bed
  8. Beware of alcohol – although it may aid in relaxation it often causes fragmented sleep
  9. Avoid forcing yourself to sleep
  10. Rule out obstructive sleep apnea and snoring – consult with your doctor or dentist. Ensure you are breathing well while you are sleeping, thus getting enough oxygen into your body. You may need to sleep with a CPAP machine or a special mouth guard-type appliance (MAS) to ensure clear airways and steady breathing.

We are always here to help. Call us on (03) 9531 6387 or email info@elwooddental.com.au for more information.