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The Importance of Sleep Hygiene and Its Impact on Health

Sleep is often undervalued in our fast-paced society, yet its significance cannot be overstated when it comes to overall health and well-being. Proper sleep hygiene, which refers to habits and practices that promote restful and uninterrupted sleep, plays a crucial role in maintaining optimal physical, mental, and emotional health. Let’s delve into the importance of sleep hygiene and explore the recommended hours of sleep per day for adults, as well as the necessity of naps or “lidjo” for overall health.


Recommended Hours of Sleep:

The National Sleep Foundation suggests that adults aged 18-64 aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to function optimally. However, individual needs may vary based on factors such as age, genetics, lifestyle, and overall health. While some individuals may thrive on the lower end of the spectrum, others may require closer to the upper limit to feel well-rested and rejuvenated.

Factors Affecting Quality Sleep

Achieving a good night’s sleep isn’t always as simple as tucking yourself into bed and closing your eyes. Various factors can influence the quality of your sleep, Impacting how rested and rejuvenated you feel upon waking. Here are some common factors that can affect good sleep:

Sleep Environment:

Your sleep environment plays a crucial role in promoting restful sleep. Factors such as noise, light, temperature, and comfort level can significantly impact your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Creating a comfortable and conducive sleep environment by minimizing noise, blocking out light, maintaining a comfortable room temperature, and investing in a supportive mattress and pillows can help improve sleep quality.

Stress and Anxiety:

Mental and emotional stressors can disrupt sleep patterns and contribute to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Persistent stress and anxiety can lead to heightened arousal and hyperarousal, making it challenging to relax and unwind before bedtime. Practicing stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness, and journaling can help alleviate tension and promote relaxation, improving sleep quality.

Sleep Schedule and Routine:

Consistency is key when it comes to maintaining a healthy sleep schedule and bedtime routine. Irregular sleep patterns, such as frequent changes in bedtime and wake-up times, can disrupt the body’s internal clock and interfere with sleep quality. Establishing a regular sleep schedule and bedtime routine that includes winding down activities such as reading, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation exercises can signal to your body that it’s time to sleep, helping you fall asleep more easily and improve sleep quality.

Electronic Devices and Screen Time:

Exposure to electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, computers, and televisions before bedtime can interfere with sleep by disrupting the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. The blue light emitted by screens suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep, making it harder to fall asleep and potentially affecting sleep quality. Limiting screen time before bedtime and using devices with features such as night mode or blue light filters can help mitigate the negative effects of electronic device use on sleep.

Diet and Nutrition:

What you eat and drink can impact your sleep quality, especially if consumed close to bedtime. Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine can interfere with sleep by increasing alertness and arousal, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Additionally, heavy or rich meals before bedtime can cause discomfort and indigestion, disrupting sleep. Opting for lighter, well-balanced meals and avoiding stimulants several hours before bedtime can promote better sleep quality.

Physical Activity and Exercise:

Regular physical activity and exercise can promote better sleep by reducing stress, anxiety, and promoting relaxation. However, exercising too close to bedtime can have the opposite effect, increasing alertness and making it harder to fall asleep. Aim to engage in moderate-intensity exercise earlier in the day, allowing your body time to wind down and relax before bedtime, which can improve sleep quality.

Medical Conditions and Medications:

Certain medical conditions and medications can impact sleep quality and contribute to sleep disturbances. Conditions such as sleep apnea, insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and chronic pain can disrupt sleep patterns and interfere with restful sleep. Similarly, certain medications, such as antidepressants, stimulants, and corticosteroids, may have side effects that affect sleep. Consulting with a healthcare professional can help identify and address any underlying medical issues or medication-related sleep disturbances to improve sleep quality.

By addressing these factors and incorporating healthy sleep habits into your lifestyle, you can optimize your sleep quality and reap the numerous benefits of restful and rejuvenating sleep.

Impact of Sleep on Health:

  1. Cognitive Function: Sleep is essential for cognitive processes such as memory consolidation, learning, problem-solving, and decision-making. Inadequate sleep can impair these functions, leading to decreased productivity, concentration difficulties, and memory lapses.
  • Physical Health: Adequate sleep is crucial for physical health as it allows the body to repair tissues, regulate hormones, and support immune function. Chronic sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and other chronic conditions.
  • Mental Health: Sleep plays a significant role in regulating mood and emotional well-being. Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can contribute to mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, exacerbating existing symptoms and reducing resilience to stress.
  • Overall Quality of Life: Quality sleep is essential for overall quality of life and general well-being. It contributes to feelings of vitality, energy levels, and emotional stability, enhancing one’s ability to engage fully in daily activities and enjoy life to the fullest.

The Necessity of Naps or “Lidjo” for Health:

In addition to nightly sleep, incorporating short naps, or “lidjo” as they are known in some cultures, can provide a boost in alertness, cognitive function, and mood during the day. While not essential for everyone, strategic napping can be beneficial, especially for individuals experiencing sleep deficits or those engaged in mentally or physically demanding tasks.

Research has shown that brief naps, typically lasting 10-30 minutes, can improve cognitive performance, reaction times, and overall productivity. Longer naps may be beneficial for individuals who are sleep-deprived or need to make up for lost sleep, but they should be timed appropriately to avoid interfering with nighttime sleep quality.

However, it’s important to note that excessive napping or napping too close to bedtime can disrupt nighttime sleep patterns and lead to difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep. Therefore, naps should be incorporated wisely into one’s daily routine, taking into account individual sleep needs and preferences.


In conclusion, prioritizing sleep hygiene is essential for maintaining optimal health and well-being. By following recommended guidelines for nightly sleep duration, practicing good sleep habits, and incorporating strategic napping when needed, individuals can enhance their physical, mental, and emotional resilience, ultimately leading to a better quality of life.


  1. National Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?
  2. Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). The importance of sleep and how to get enough sleep.

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