sleep hygiene practices

He could be one of us. Most of you have come across such a scenario very often. He seems to enjoy his time. Little he may know that he is gonna experience troubled sleep.

The obvious reasons!

Three reasons provoke him emotionally, alter his hormones, and causes hormonal disruptions. This is just a simple scenario that affects the sleep. The impact multiples when you work until dawn.

  • The bright lit screen in a dark room
  • He seems to enjoy what he watches
  • A cup of coffee

Let’s cut the chase. You already know the importance of good sleep. Good and quality sleep has profound benefits for physical and mental health. Have you ever come across the term ‘sleep hygiene?’

Regardless of your lifestyle, if you want a better sleep at night, you should know about the sleep hygiene.

What is Sleep Hygiene?

It’s a term that collectively defines the sleep habits, your norms, practices, and bedtime rituals which is necessary for a good night’s sleep. 

As a nation, as a world, people generously follow the bad sleep hygiene. Latest statistical data from Sleep Cycle states no country achieves the target of minimum 8 hours sleep.

A regular sleep routine coupled with healthy bedtime rituals makes good sleep hygiene. It involves different practices a combination of behavioral and environmental practices that contribute to quality night’s sleep and makes you stay fresh, awake, and alert the next day, throughout the day.

On a lighter note, habits that support proper sleep refer to sleep hygiene.

Importance of Sleep Hygiene

Sleep is important. Good sleep is essential to manage the physical, emotional, and psychological balance in the body. Proper sleep hygiene helps you ease out and prevent the sleep problems.

  • In insomnia treatment, sleep hygiene plays a pivotal role in cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Supports maintaining the state of equilibrium.
  • Your body functions even when you sleep. It helps replenishes your cells and tissues, regulates hormones, restores the energy, and aids in the healthy functioning of organs.
  • Sleep is a natural healing therapy. You pay absolutely nothing to feel good and stay healthy.
  • Maintains the body circadian rhythm
  • Reduces the risk of auto-immune conditions, cardiovascular diseases, and lifestyle disorders (lack of sleep which is due to bad sleep hygiene associates with many health conditions)
  • Reduces and prevents the risk of emotional and psychological problems like anxiety, depression, mood disorders etc.

Best Practices for Sleep Hygiene

1.    Assess your sleep requirements

To get healthy sleep, you should know how long you should sleep. On an average basis, a healthy individual needs around 7 to 8 hours sleep. However, the sleep needs are not constant. It changes throughout the life. Remember you sleep at least 7 hours a day.

2.    Prepare the bedtime schedule and stick to the routine

Try to sleep at the same time every day. Initially, you may find it hard to follow the routine. Adjust your other works accordingly and stick to the routine.

Avoid procrastination. Just like you try to sleep at the same time, set the alarm to wake up at the same time.

3.    Make your environment comfy

The sleeping environment i.e your bedroom should be comfortable and noise free. Design your bedroom quieter. While absolute silence can help you, some people may need the little white noise.

4.    Ensure your bedroom is cool and dark

A cool environment promotes sound sleep. The bedroom should be dark with small night lamps. When you sleep in dark, your body secretes a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin is responsible for many major hormonal functions.

5.    Use the bedroom only for the intended purpose

What is the purpose of the bedroom? Primarily reason is sleep, and for sex. Do not use the bedroom for the other purposes like working, watching television etc.

6.    A healthy bedtime routine

Create a set of routine and practice regularly. To name a few,

  • Switch off gadgets and electronics before 30 minutes to bedtime
  • Take a bath
  • Meditate or do breathing exercises for 5 to 10 minutes

7.    Your food and drink before

Watch what you eat and drink before sleep. Strictly avoid coffee and high energy drinks. Eat at least 2 hours before you got bed.

8.    Stay calm during sleep time if you cannot sleep

This is very important. When you hit the bed at the same time, try to stay put. It will be difficult for a few days to fall asleep immediately after reaching the bed. Do not attempt to do anything. Just close your eyes and stay calm.

General Tips to Improve Sleep Hygiene

  • Avoid day time naps to improve your sleep at night
  • Do not depend on any medicines to doze off
  • Say no to smoking and alcohol
  • Exercise daily or regularly. It improves quality of sleep.
  • Avoid all blue lights (television, computers, and mobile) from the bedroom.

References:

https://asleepywolf.com/sleep-hygiene/
https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/sleep-hygiene#1
https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/sleep-hygiene
https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html
https://www.sleeprate.com/faq_article/basic-rules-for-a-good-nights-sleep/
http://www.sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/healthy-sleep-habits
https://www.tuck.com/sleep-hygiene/

 

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