What is Sleep Hygiene: Do I need to take a bath before bed?
Employee: A good night sleep will literally help you live a happier, healthier life and improve your cognitive ability.
Employer: Employees who have had a good night sleep have higher job satisfaction, motivation, cognitive ability, and reduced risk for safety incidents (including reduced risk of safety incident severity).
So, what is sleep hygiene exactly, are we talking about taking a bath before bed? The answer to that question is yes and no. When we are talking about sleep hygiene we are referring to habits that help improve sleep quantity and quality. A bath before bed is one such habit, but not necessarily because it helps you get squeaky clean, the heating and then rapid cooling of your body temperature after a bath helps communicate to your brain that it is time for sleep. There are several such habits that can contribute to improved quantity and quality of sleep helping you get the recommended 8 hours sleep per night. Even small sleep debts (i.e. ½ hour per night less sleep than recommended) over time has been shown to decrease motivation, increase negative feelings, decrease cognitive functioning and increasing the risk of serious safety incidents. It has also been linked to heightened risk for developing serious health issues including diabetes, cardio vascular disease and cancer. Given the serious implications of not getting a good night sleep here are some tips to help ensure you are getting those precious ZZZs: use tools that helps you minimize noise while you sleep; don’t drink Coffee in the 3 to 7-hour window before going to bed; quit smoking (Nicotine is a stimulant), get regular exercise (just not in the few hours before you go to bed); don’t lay in bed to watch TV, read or use a smart phone; use mindfulness/relaxation techniques to help with stress and getting to sleep; and set a regular wake up time so that your body has a steady sleep and wake cycle. If you think you have a sleep problem (e.g. insomnia, sleep apnea, etc.) seek help from your doctor.