Inadequate sleep hygiene

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By Shalini Paruthi MD and Raman Malhotra MD

Inadequate sleep hygiene entails the behaviors, practices, rituals, and habits that result in sleep onset or maintenance difficulties and unrefreshing sleep. It is prevalent across all age groups from young children to the elderly. In our present society, we embrace a culture of taking liberties with our sleep in order to get better grades in school, be more productive, or fulfill social or official obligations. This leads to behaviors and habits that then make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep through the night. This can result in chronic sleep complaints, as well as daytime fatigue and sleepiness. In addition, poor sleep hygiene has been shown to worsen other comorbid psychiatric and neurologic disorders. Recognition, counseling, and therapeutic strategies can result in increased sleep quantity, improved sleep quality, and improved daytime functioning. In this article, the authors discuss the presentation, impact, and treatment of inadequate sleep hygiene.

Key Points

  • Staying in bed for longer than 20 minutes or trying to force sleep may increase latency to sleep.
  • Exposure to light (such as from screens associated with televisions, computers, mobile phones, handheld video games, or tablet devices) prolongs latency to sleep.
  • Frequent daytime napping or napping late in the evening often results in sleep-onset difficulties.
  • As the components of sleep hygiene, including bedtime routine, bed time, and wake up times, are individual-specific, it is important to keep in mind that the treatment for inadequate sleep hygiene must also be individually tailored.

In This Article

Historical note and nomenclature
Clinical manifestations
Clinical vignette
Pathogenesis and pathophysiology
Differential diagnosis
Diagnostic workup
Prognosis and complications
References cited