Content provided by the GBS Health & Wellness Team
Americans are notoriously sleep deprived and insomnia affects about one-third of the population, creating a more irritable and exhausted workforce. There is no question that both quantity and quality of sleep affect mood and mental state, largely contributing to the meaning behind the well-worn phrase, “woke up on the wrong side of the bed.”
Did You Know? Humans typically spend 1/3 of their life sleeping.
Sleep allows the brain to reorganize the information received throughout the day and promotes efficient and clear thought processes. It’s not only enjoyable but is an essential function and affects almost every daytime activity, including socializing, learning, daily performance, and emotional regulation. A good night’s sleep can also act as a stress reliever and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
On the other hand, sleep deprivation can be both a cause and a side effect of mental health problems like anxiety, depression, ADHD, and bipolar disorder. This means poor sleep is not only a symptom of mental health issues but can also lead to developing mental health disorders.
Fast Fact: Humans are the only mammals that willingly delay sleep.
The term “sleep hygiene” refers to healthy sleep habits that allow you to fall asleep quicker and easier. The following checklist includes ideas and tips to improve quality and quantity of sleep. Set a goal to check as many boxes as possible to promote good sleep hygiene.
Sleep Hygiene Checklist
- Reduce caffeine intake, specifically later in the day
- Exercise for 30 minutes
- Limit napping
- Avoid late, heavy meals
- Avoid electronic or screen use for 30 minutes before bed
- Develop a nighttime routine to help wind down
- Meditate or practice deep breathing before bed
- Try progressive muscle relaxation
- Dim the lights before bed
- Maximize the comfort and support of your bed
- Block out excess light and sound
- Maintain a cool bedroom temperature