Modern Life and Sleep Disruption
Our ancestors knew when it was time to hit the sack. It was easy. It was when the sun went down. Simple enough. You couldn’t do much far from the campfire unless there was a bright full moon. Nowadays, we can stay up and awake around the clock…and many of us try to! Modern life makes maintaining a good sleep schedule harder than ever. We have our daily stressors that keep us tossing and turning. We have numerous easily accessible distractions that compete with sleep. These include late night TV, surfing the Internet, and getting up and making the pilgrimage to the refrigerator for a late-night snack. We can also pick up the phone and connect with people at all hours via phone call, text, or social media.
Given the circumstances of modern life, how do we maintain good sleep hygiene? Well…first of all, what is good sleep hygiene. The average adult should be getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 25% of adults don’t get adequate sleep. In fact, 30% of people don’t get more than 6 hours of sleep.
Good sleep hygiene involves following a relatively predictable sleep schedule that ensures we’re getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. Good sleep hygiene also involves creating he right sleep environment to ensure that we get good, restful sleep. That environment is typically a dark, quiet, declutter bedroom that doesn’t have distractions like TV, computer, tablet, phone, etc. The bedroom is for sleep.
Good sleep hygiene is like good oral hygiene which involves brushing and flossing. Good sleep hygiene requires deliberate effort. You have to make an effort to push back against all of the temptations of modern life. Again, as mentioned above, these include the temptations of:
- Binge watching your favorite TV shows late into the night.
- Making late night runs to the refrigerator for a snack
- Surfing the Internet for hours
- Texting or talking on the phone to friends and family way past bedtime
- Making poor choices in staying up and out with friends when your body needs rest.
Maintaining good sleep hygiene in the modern era with all of the distractions and temptations requires the same type of discipline as it takes to maintain a workout routine or diet. Knowing what you’re up against is step 1. Once you know that, you can take the steps to push back and defend your much needed rest.