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  • Daulton Physical Therapy and Fitness

Sleep Hygiene

Importance of sleep

Sleep is critical for the healing of our bodies and our minds. With ongoing poor sleep, our brains don’t have the chance to do their overnight “clean-up” work (done by the Glymphatic system), and we end up with brain inflammation. (This explains sleep deprivation brain fog!) Our brains have their own clean-up system called the glymphatic system, which is the brain’s version of the lymphatic system. The glymphatic system gets its name from the glial cells that play a large role in the functioning of the glymphatic system.

How much sleep do we need?

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, adults (including older adults) need a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night. Children ages 6-12 years old need 9-12 hours of sleep per night, and teens (13-18 years old) need 8-10 hours of sleep per night.

Sleep Hygiene

The term “sleep hygiene” refers to daily habits that are necessary for promoting quality sleep. Some of these are critical for all of us, and some measures become necessary when a person is more significantly struggling with achieving quality sleep. Please explore the recommendations listed below and begin to incorporate these into your evening/nighttime routine.

Sleep hygiene for all of us:

  • Avoid naps unless you have no issues with sleeping.

  • Establish and follow a simple bedtime routine.

  • Set a schedule – consistently go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.

  • Get daily exercise, stopping no later than a 1-2 hours before your bedtime.

  • Avoid caffeine after 2pm. Avoid nicotine late in the day. Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed.

  • Create a sleep sanctuary in your room, avoiding bright lights and loud noises, setting a comfortable room temperature, keeping your TV, computer, and cell phone out of your bedroom.

  • No work, homework, or TV in your bedroom.

  • No TV (or other screens) in the one hour before bedtime.

  • Turn on the blue light filter on your smartphone to reduce the impact of the screen light on your circadian rhythm.

Sleep hygiene when falling asleep and/or staying asleep is hard:

  • Relax before bed – warm bath or shower, use a calming scent such as lavender, read (in print), drink herbal tea, do a relaxing craft, talk with someone.

  • Try progressive muscle relaxation - tighten your muscles group by group, starting at your toes and working up to your head.

  • Focus on slow, deep breaths, allowing your abdomen to rise and fall with each breath. Diaphragmatic breathing helps to calm the body and the brain.

  • Don’t lie in bed awake. {Your bed should be a sanctuary for sleep, not stressing about not sleeping.} If you can’t sleep, get up, do something relaxing until you feel sleepy again. Avoid light (especially from electronic devices) and other stimulating things.

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