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  • Writer's pictureViolaine Tewari

The Surprising Benefits of Good Sleep Hygiene

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Sleep hygiene refers to the habits and practices that promote healthy and restful sleep. Good sleep hygiene is essential for overall health and well-being, as it can affect everything from mood and energy levels to cognitive function and physical health. In this article, I'll explore why sleep hygiene is so important and explain how I can help you improve your sleep habits.

What is sleep hygiene?

Sleep hygiene refers to the habits and practices that promote healthy and restful sleep. This includes things like maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing sleep environment, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, and limiting screen time before bedtime. Good sleep hygiene is essential for overall health and well-being, as it can affect everything from mood and energy levels to cognitive function and physical health.

Overview of adult sleep in France

Let's start with some figures. It is important to know that the human species is programmed to sleep 7 to 8 hours a day. Moreover, 20% of people can sleep more than 8 hours a day.

However, 31% of French people claim to sleep from 2 to 6 hours per night during the week, which means that they suffer from a sleep deficit. The average sleep duration of the French is 7.47 hours per day. 45% of people between 25 and 45 years old consider that they sleep less than their necessary number of hours, which is half of the active population. During the week, they sleep 6.55 hours and 8.02 hours on weekends, which means that they suffer from sleep restrictions during the week. 32% of French people take a nap during the week, especially on weekends, in order to recover from their sleep deficit. 16% take a 45-minute nap.

Compared to 50 years ago, the French have lost on average one and a half hours of sleep. These figures indicate that the French generally suffer from a chronic sleep deficit.

Sleep is often viewed as lost time, whereas it is one of the foundations of our health. Let's learn more about what it means for our health.

Reduced stress and anxiety

Quality sleep can help reduce stress and anxiety in adults. When we sleep, our bodies produce hormones that help regulate our mood and stress. If we don't get enough sleep, our bodies can produce high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to increased anxiety and stress. By getting enough quality sleep, we can help regulate these hormones and reduce our stress and anxiety levels.

Improved memory and concentration

Quality sleep can also improve memory and concentration. During sleep, our brains process the information we learned during the day and consolidate it into our long-term memory. If we don't get enough sleep, our brains can have trouble processing this information, which can lead to problems with memory and concentration. Fatigue also leads to decreased alertness with an increased risk of accidents.

By getting enough quality sleep, we can help our brains process information efficiently and improve our memory and concentration.

Strengthening the immune system

Quality sleep can also strengthen the immune system. During sleep, our bodies produce cytokines, proteins that help fight infection, inflammation and stress. If we don't get enough sleep, our bodies may have trouble producing enough cytokines, which can weaken our immune system and make us more vulnerable to disease.

By getting enough quality sleep, we can help our bodies produce enough cytokines and strengthen our immune system.

Regulation of mood and appetite

Quality sleep can also help regulate mood and appetite. Lack of sleep can lead to increased production of the stress hormone cortisol, which can negatively affect our mood and appetite. By getting enough quality sleep, we can help regulate cortisol production and maintain a healthy balance between our mood and appetite.

From one hour of missed night, you will consume an additional 209 calories (with the increase in ghrelin and decrease in leptin, which leads to increased appetite and decreased satiety). The result is that you will spontaneously reach for fatty and sugary foods, which will lead to weight gain.

Lack of sleep also leads to a disruption in the regulation of blood glucose levels (with a decrease in insulin production), which favors diabetes and weight gain (+30% risk of obesity).

Reduced risk of disease

Quality sleep can also reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Studies have shown that lack of sleep is associated with an increased risk of diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease (48% increased risk of heart attack), cancer and high blood pressure. Sleeping less than 7 hours a night also increases the risk of catching a cold or other virus due to a lowered immune system. Sleeping less than 6 hours a night increases the risk of having a heart attack by 4 times.

By getting enough quality sleep, we can help reduce this risk and maintain good long-term health.

Scientific studies also show a correlation between good sleep hygiene and the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and neurodegenerative diseases, thanks to the action of the glymphatic system, responsible for the elimination of cellular waste in the brain, particularly active during deep sleep.

Improved fertility

Did you know that sleep disorders also lead to a decrease in fertility? Having a healthy and regular sleep pattern impacts hormonal balance. If you sleep too little or your sleep is disturbed, you may find yourself in a state of hormonal imbalance, which will lead to irregularities and disturbances in the menstrual cycle and reduced sperm production, which may also be deformed.

The melatonin hormone plays an essential role. It is a hormone that affects the reproductive capacity of the genitals and its level increases during sleep.

The difference between insomnia and sleep disorder: when should you seek help?

A sleep disorder can be a one-time event, whereas insomnia is a permanent condition.

  • delays in falling asleep

  • an intermittent sleep instability, interspersed with nocturnal awakenings ("you wake up and go back to sleep"),

  • painful and uncomfortable wakings: you don't feel well in the morning when you wake up, because you may not have finished your sleep cycle,

  • early morning waking up or late morning waking up and feeling tired (fatigue),

  • a subjective underestimation of the duration of the sleep peak: you have the impression of not having slept all night whereas you were in a light, slow wave sleep

  • perception of a non-restorative sleep

In general, people seek help for the following sleep problems:

  • difficulties in falling asleep (more than 30 minutes),

  • nocturnal wakings, with difficulties to fall back asleep,

  • early wakings: due to anxiety, we put ourselves in a system of waking during the night;

  • daytime repercussions: I feel tired during the day

Adult sleep according to age

Age plays an important role in sleep disorders, especially for women, who are more prone to all these difficulties, who have a greater tendency to ruminate and who have more difficulty letting go. With the onset of menopause, sleep disorders can turn into insomnia.

In addition, during periods of professional overactivity, people find it more difficult to find restful sleep. They may suffer from waking up too early, for example because they need to catch their train early in the morning.

Upon retirement, many sleep disorders tend to self-regulate. Some people sleep more than they need to, which can also lead to sleep disorders. Some people also continue to suffer from sleep disturbances, for example related to the development of chronic diseases. However, people dedicate more time to their sleep.

The first good question to ask yourself is how you feel during the day. If your general condition, aches and pains, and illnesses are increasing, it may mean that you are suffering from a sleep deficit.

Do you suffer from insomnia or a sleep disorder? Test yourself

A sleep disorder is a one-time occurrence, whereas insomnia is a condition that is similar to an illness.

There are six key questions you can ask yourself:

Do you take longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep?

Do you wake up at least one hour every night?

Do you spend more than 25% of your time in bed awake?

Do you wake up too early?

Do you feel tired when you wake up?

Do you suffer from insomnia more than three times a week for more than three months?

If you answer yes to these questions, it means that you suffer from insomnia. If not, it is simply a one-time sleep disorder.

In the case of occasional problems, sophrology can help you quickly.

It is important to know that a century ago, we slept two hours more and that 20 years ago, we slept one hour more. Without a doubt, the arrival of electricity, television and hyper-connection with screens have created an epidemic of sleep debt. Using sophrology, we will also find time for ourselves and create a space to fight this hyper-connectivity.

When you reach the age of sixty, you will have slept for 20 years. It is therefore crucial to sleep well throughout your life.

Tips for improving your sleep hygiene.

There are many ways to improve your sleep hygiene and get a better night's rest. Some tips include establishing a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, keeping your bedroom cool and dark, and limiting screen time before bed. It's also important to prioritize sleep and make it a priority in your daily routine. By making these changes, you can improve your sleep hygiene and reap the many benefits of a good night's rest.

How would you describe your sleep?

Do you suffer from a disturbed sleep? Insomnia problems?

I have a Master's degree in Caycedian sophrology,

I specialize in sleep disorders:

- Masterclass Bienrelax Sophrology and sleep,

- Better sleep and Sophrology (Sofrocay)

This is what I can offer :

  • -to analyze together the structure of your sleep, in particular by setting up concrete analysis grids, such as the sleep diary which will allow you to follow the evolution of the reality of your sleep.

You will have to note in this document :

  • the time you get up in the morning,

  • the time you wake up: when you wake up, do you get up quickly or do you stay in bed?

  • your naps, if any,

  • how you feel when you wake up, which will allow you to evaluate if you wake up in the middle or at the end of a sleep cycle,

  • your perception of the quality of your sleep,

  • any events that occurred during your day (family or work conflicts, overeating, exercise, specific emotional states)

  • the time you go to bed,

  • the time at which you fall asleep,

  • the existence of nocturnal awakenings

These different elements will allow us to evaluate the reality of your sleep, compared to your subjective perception and to confirm the existence of a disorder.

What I can do to improve your sleep

  • Examine the different endogenous and exogenous factors that affect your sleep,

  • Train you with sophrology sessions that will help you to improve your sleep progressively,

  • Help you rediscover the pleasure of sleeping,

  • With your doctor's agreement, progressively reduce the consumption of sleeping pills, which do not induce the most restful sleep,

  • Teach you techniques that will help you to reduce the frequency and duration of nocturnal awakenings, according to your needs,

  • Make recordings of sophrological practices, so that you can also practice at home between sessions. It can often be necessary to repeat the sessions to obtain a lasting result, especially if the problem has been chronically present for a long time.

Because sleep and health go hand in hand

it is essential to be able to regain proper sleep

In many cases, sophrology is a real alternative to chemical treatments. However, medical treatment is sometimes necessary, for example in cases of sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome. In these cases, I will work on the advice of your doctor, as an extra care.

In addition, psy-digitopuncture can help you to overcome emotional blockages that affect the quality of your sleep. This technique is also very suitable for children and babies. I have seen many times results after only one session. However, results vary from one person to another and I do not promise a concrete result in a specific number of sessions, honesty and ethics being among my key values.

And you, how do you sleep? Feel free to send me your comments or to make an appointment for a free initial assessment to learn more.

Femme en pyjama qui se prépare à une bonne nuit de sommeil après une séance de sophrologie
Through a regular practice of sophrology, guided by a qualified person, you can once again think of the nights as moments of peace and rest.

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