Inadequate sleep hygiene

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By Neeraj Kaplish MD

Inadequate sleep hygiene entails the behaviors, practices, rituals, and habits that one goes through on most days, resulting in sleep onset or maintenance difficulties and unrefreshing sleep. It is prevalent across all age groups from young children to octogenarians. 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 inadequate sleep often being a common if not the only etiology of chronic sleep complaints as well as daytime fatigue and sleepiness. Recognition, counseling, and therapeutic strategies can result in better sleep, restored homeostasis, and improved daytime functioning. In this clinical article, Dr. Neeraj Kaplish of the University of Michigan discusses the presentation, impact, and treatment of inadequate sleep hygiene.

Key Points

  • Staying in bed for a prolonged period (30 minutes or longer) and trying to force sleep is not a good practice.
  • Exposure to light (such as watching television, working on a computer) prolongs latency to sleep.
  • Frequent daytime napping or napping late in the evening often results in sleep-onset difficulties.