Talk about sleep has reached a fever-pitch in most health wellness circles and now mainstream news. From educational reasons to pop-psych theories; whether we are sympathizing with those suffering from a lack of sleep, hearing worldwide pundits share how a good night’s sleep affects their quality of life or general awareness about the benefits of sleep to our bodies, Sleep is hot.

So, why are we just coming to this realization, as if it were some great epiphany? We sleep. Sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s not and hopefully tonight it will be at least good. But why plan our lives around sleep?

According to Sleep Education.org, “Your daily routines – what you eat and drink, the medications you take, how you schedule your days and how you choose to spend your evenings – can significantly impact your quality of sleep. Even a few slight adjustments can, in some cases, mean the difference between sound sleep and a restless night.”

That’s important, because with a population now on the precipice of making sleep deprivation a country-wide public health issue (CDC), and sleep impairment being the fifth leading cause of fatal traffic accidents we need to wake-up and take our sleep seriously. We hear about it, read about it and are “reminded” that even celebrities do it. It’s everywhere. Now that sleep (or the lack of it) is getting the attention of many, and we know how much we need it (especially on Monday mornings), what can be done to improve our sleep habits?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, we must be pro-active about getting our sleep long before our head hits the pillow. “Sleep hygiene is important for everyone, from childhood through adulthood, says Dr. Michael Thorpy, M.D.”  “A good sleep hygiene routine promotes healthy sleep and daytime alertness. Good sleep hygiene practices can prevent the development of sleep problems and disorders.

“Sleep Hygiene” is a phrase now used in medical communities to describe good sleep practices. These include taking care of your body and mind daily so that you are best prepared for the most restful sleep, at night.

In an article in the New Yorker last year, Maria Konnikova wrote that “Good sleep hygiene, many researchers have found, is essential when it comes to falling asleep; it can even overcome some unfortunate genetic predispositions. Conversely, bad sleep hygiene can equal, in its effects, some of the most problematic genetic disorders.”

Exercise, good nutrition throughout the day and avoiding heavy meals late night, caffeine after 2pm, exposing yourself to natural light as well as adequately decompressing before bed all contribute to practicing good sleep hygiene.

As far as the surge in popularity as of late, many practitioners and health advocates are saying “It’s about time.”

“Many illnesses in today’s modern world can somehow be mapped back to a lack of sleep, says Ira Chayut, VP of engineering and Adaptive Sound Technologies founder. “Many Americans view sleep as either a nuisance towards their path to success or a luxury only afforded once one has finished a project or had a productive work week.  It’s ludicrous once you think about it because these things can be best achieved with sleep – our bodies naturally do it, because it is a necessity to live, so why are we fighting it?”

With good reason, health professionals on a wide scale are enjoying this spotlight on Sleep, and even feeding the fervor, encouraging high-tech development around tracking sleep behavior and validating sleep deprivation as a major factor to many behavioral dysfunctions. CBS Radio and News is hosting a series on sleep health and even the CEO of leading insurance provider, Aetna, recently made sleep health a major priority in their workplace and has shared the company’s findings about sleep health with the public.

The result? With this information, we are much more savvy about the obstacles to getting a good night’s sleep and how we can even get a great night’s sleep. “Falling asleep may seem like an impossible dream when you’re awake at 3 a.m., but good sleep is more under your control than you might think. Following healthy sleep habits can make the difference between restlessness and restful slumber. “Sleep hygiene”— (can) help anyone maximize the hours they spend sleeping, even those whose sleep is affected by insomnia, jet lag, or shift work.” Healthy Sleep. ED, Harvard.org

If you consistently have trouble sleeping well, seriously consider seeing a medical professional or visiting a Sleep Center. Sound+Sleep, Sleep Therapy Systems and the ‘LectroFan White Noise Sound Machine are both products that have been used with a sleep schedule and have ensured sleep goes uninterrupted giving you quality rest throughout the night.

For more information on Sound+Sleep products visit asticorp.com/soundofsleep.

 

Sources:

Huffington Post/Sleep Wellness

Healthy Sleep, E.D.

30% of US adults Need More Sleep

The New Yorker

Sleep Education.org