Sleep Hygiene by itself is not an effective treatment for insomnia! Dr. Nathaniel Kleitman (pioneer in sleep medicine) first described “The Hygiene of Sleep” in Sleep and Wakefulness which was published in 1939.
Later in 1977, insomnia expert Peter Hauri coined the term “sleep hygiene” as it is currently understood.
Sleep hygiene is very broad in definition but has four main components: •Regular bedtimes and wake times
• A comfortable sleep environment
• Eliminating alcohol, nicotine, caffeine)
Almost everywhere I turn, newspapers, internet articles, magazines, other doctors…..are promoting sleep hygiene as treatment for insomnia. This advice does a disservice to people with chronic insomnia because it is unlikely to help them and further trivializes their conundrum. There are lots of people with horrendous sleep hygiene who sleep just fine. And more often than not, when a person comes to see me, they’ve already tried sleep hygiene and they still have insomnia.
Sleep hygiene is important, but of the five major components of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), it is the least important and it has NEVER SHOWN A BENEFIT IN MONOTHERAPY.
I’ll continue to elaborate on the treatment for chronic insomnia and CBT-I in future posts.
Has anyone ever recommended sleep hygiene to you?