Your nightly dose of vitamin Z

Sleep hygiene explained

The practices and habits that give you good sleep quality and complete alertness during the day are called “sleep hygiene.” Being aware of your sleep hygiene and finding a routine that works can have positive effects on your overall quality of life.

According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry, young adults are significantly less aware of sleep hygiene than other age demographics. This study also reported that students seem to be unaware of the negative effects of sleep deprivation, which could include a decline in academic performance and psychological well-being.

It is important to note that sleep hygiene does not mean sleeping for as long as possible. One of the most important sleep hygiene practices is only spending an appropriate amount of time in bed – not too little, but also not too much. According to the same 2015 sleep hygiene study, it is recommended that young adults (ages 18-25) get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Some other important sleep hygiene practices include exercising to promote good sleep quality, avoiding stimulants (such as caffeine and nicotine) close to bedtime and establishing a regular nightly routine.

Many Mount Allison students agree that napping is one of their favourite things to do during the day, but it is important to note that napping does not replace a loss of nighttime sleep and that excessive napping is not found to be beneficial. Limiting daytime naps to 30 minutes per day, however, can help enhance mental and physical performance, replenish energy and improve mood.

Oliver Dinan, a third-year aviation student at Mt. A, has been working on completing his night endorsement to his pilot’s licence this past week. This means that he has been flying in Moncton until at least 2 a.m. and then waking up for an 8:30 a.m. class. “I have been feeling the negative effects from the reduction in sleep that I have had over the past week,” he said. After a couple of days of doing this, Dinan reported being “mentally and physically drained” and said that he has “found it very hard to be productive when running on such little sleep.”

Practising good sleep hygiene is important for both physical and mental health. It also improves productivity and overall well-being. Sleep is a weapon, so use it productively.

Kathleen Morrison