It’s something we all do but never worry about until there’s a problem: sleep.
Not getting enough sleep is linked with many chronic diseases and conditions — such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression — and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic.
Sleep affects everything from our physical and mental health to our daily functioning — though the ways in which these are affected are only now starting to be understood.
In fact, sleep health is a fairly new field of research and focuses on how we sleep and the factors that impact it. But recent studies have already shown a link between getting enough shuteye and reduced inflammation, better regulated blood sugar, and improved mood.
Your daily behaviors can have a major impact on your sleep, and good “sleep hygiene“ — healthy sleep habits that can improve your ability to fall and stay asleep — is the foundation for creating a healthy pattern of restfulness and seeing major wellness improvements.
The following three organizations work to provide information and resources aimed at helping you improve your own sleep hygiene.
It wasn’t a typical route to healing and health for Glenn Harrold, the renowned clinical hypnotherapist and self-help author.
While working as a musician, playing guitar in a duo in pubs and clubs, Harrold shared the bill one night with a stage hypnotist who transfixed members of the audience.
“In that moment I had an epiphany, and I decided I that I wanted to learn everything I could about hypnosis and how it worked,” Harrold said.
“I was drawn to hypnosis for its healing potential and not for the entertainment side of things…. I worked hard, used self-hypnosis to motivate myself in my new career, and soon I began seeing clients for everything from anxiety, phobias, weight issues, confidence, and many more anxiety-related problems.”
Today, Diviniti Publishing is the home of Harrold’s popular hypnosis and meditation CDs and MP3 downloads. There are more than 80 titles available on topics ranging from smoking cessation to finding inner wisdom.
Meanwhile, with “Sleep Well Every Night,” a self-help book and accompanying CD, Harrold explains how hypnosis can be used to naturally guide listeners into a state that’s ideal for deep, restful sleep.
Harrold was inspired to become a hypnotherapist by his own experiences growing up on the streets. Following a health scare at 17, he recognized he needed to change his destructive patterns.
“Because I had such a difficult start in life and was able to heal and overcome much of that negative conditioning, I feel I am in a very good place to help others overcome problems. I love that side of my work and the amazing feedback that comes back to me from people using my recordings all over the world.”
Tuck Sleep started in 2017 with a small team of writers passionate about sleep and overall health and wellness. A resource for improving sleep hygiene, researching sleep products, and understanding sleep health, Tuck boasts the largest collection of aggregated data on sleep surfaces on the internet.
“I found that it was incredibly difficult to find accurate, up-to-date information that really meets the needs of sleepers and consumers,” says Keith Cushner, Tuck co-founder. “It’s that knowledge and a passion for what is now being discussed as the ‘third pillar of health’ that keeps me going.”
At Tuck, they define “sleep health” as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being as determined by the quality of an individual’s sleep.
The definition is intentionally broad and covers everything from types of sleep to the way health is impacted by sleep both positively and negatively.
Tuck’s website offers a variety of links that not only touch on the more traditional elements of sleep, including mattress and product reviews, but also provides in-depth information on sleep disorders and the latest academic research in the field.
Their website includes a comprehensive list of sleep health resources and sleep medicine and therapy types, while the blog addresses the sleep-related questions of your average consumer with entries on topics like “How long should you nap?” and “Should you sleep alone or with a partner?”
Helping Babies Sleep
Dr. Sarah Mitchell knows what it’s like to be a frustrated, anxious, and sleep-deprived new mom. Exhausted and looking for answers after the birth of her son, she used her academic training as a chiropractor to research everything she could about baby sleep.
Helping Babies Sleep was born.
“I empower tired, frazzled parents to teach their babies and toddlers to sleep by educating parents on age appropriate sleep needs and sleep-training options,” explains Mitchell, the founder of Helping Babies Sleep and a sleep consultant.
“I don’t teach cookie-cutter schedules but rather teach parents how to read their child’s needs and guide them with age-appropriate suggestions.”
Mitchell offers home visits, virtual consultations, and an online course and community through Helping Babies Sleep. Sleep consultations can focus on newborns, babies, and toddlers. And programs are tailored for particular sleep issues, parent philosophy, and family needs.
Mitchell also helps parents and professionals understand why babies and toddlers struggle with sleep and how to help children get more sleep with inspirational lectures and group workshops.
“It’s my mission in life to help women get their child’s sleep on track so their household is well rested and happier,” Mitchell said.
Jen Thomas is a journalist and media strategist based in San Francisco. When she’s not dreaming of new places to visit and photograph, she can be found around the Bay Area struggling to wrangle her blind Jack Russell Terrier or looking lost because she insists on walking everywhere. Jen is also a competitive Ultimate Frisbee player, a decent rock climber, a lapsed runner, and an aspiring aerial performer.