Sleeping is an important activity we all do every day. In fact, we spend nearly a third of our lives sleeping or attempting to do so.
We do know that our body and mind reset themselves after a restful night. Yet, science is still to prove why sleep is so vital to every living being.
There are numerous studies on the consequences of inadequate sleep on our physical and mental health. What we are about to tackle here, though, is about developing good sleep hygiene practices.
What is sleep hygiene?
We all have had those nights when we are staring at the ceiling at 2 AM trying to catch those elusive z’s. It is completely all right to experience this once in a while. But, when such nights become the norm, it is essential to start taking care of one’s sleep hygiene. So, what exactly is it?
“Sleep hygiene is nothing but a set of habits and routines we set for ourselves to get the best quality sleep every night.” Thus, the most important thing is to put yourself in the best position consistently, so you sleep well each night.
Just like oral hygiene and personal hygiene, good sleep hygiene prevents various other health ailments. As misleading as it may sound, sleep hygiene doesn’t just refer to having a clean bed. No, it doesn’t even refer to having a regular bedtime routine.
It is about everyday practices and schedules that create a conducive environment to getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. Keep reading to know about the different ways by which you can get better sleep.
10 Tips To Sleep Better
- Wake up at the same time every morning, including on weekends. This has been shown to help build a natural routine in the body.
- Get exposed to sunlight first thing after you wake up. It helps with your circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle).
- Sneak in some physical activity. Regular exercise is another factor that regulates your circadian rhythm.
- Try to avoid naps during the day. If you do have to nap, keep it short and stick to the earlier part of the afternoon.
- Avoid caffeine in the evenings. Caffeine is a stimulant and stays in your blood long after you have downed your cup of coffee. It is known to interfere with sleep and cause sleep disturbances. If you must have your evening cuppa, try to cut it down to a smaller amount.
- Avoid using digital devices (smartphones, tablets, electronic readers, and television) at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light from the screens can prevent melatonin (sleep hormone) production. Additionally, the news you read on the internet can trigger some stress and keep you from falling asleep peacefully.
- Refrain from using your bed as your living space. Avoid using it to eat, read, talk on the phone, watch TV and work on your laptop. Restrict it to just two activities – sleep and lovemaking.
- If you find yourself tossing and turning for more than 20 minutes, just get up and do some calming activity in dim lighting. Again, do your best to control that urge to pick up your phone. Rather, you can choose reading at this point, so you don’t get overly stimulated.
- Establish a daily bedtime ritual. It can include activities that you enjoy and calm you down – listening to music, journaling, a warm bath, doing gentle stretches, applying soothing skin lotions or scented oils, meditating with a lit candle are things many people claim to find beneficial.
- Make your bedroom conducive to sleep and falling asleep. This involves modifying your bedroom into a calming sanctuary.
Ways to Make Your Bedroom Feel More Relaxing
- First and foremost, invest in the right pieces – be it the mattress, pillows, or bed linen. Make sure they are to your liking. If they are old and have lost their firmness, it is time to go shopping.
- Declutter your bedroom and keep only the bare essentials insight. Place a bedside table to keep things tidy.
- Opt for soft lighting, and light fixtures especially meant to be used before bedtime. It helps set the tone.
- Make sure your room is well ventilated. Sleeping in a confined or dingy space is not the healthiest thing to do.
- Set the air-conditioner at the optimal temperature. This will make you feel cozy and relaxed.
- Use earplugs if you are a light sleeper and your neighborhood is noisy with traffic or machinery sounds filtering in.
- Cut off all lights. Our body clock responds to the dark surroundings by inducing drowsiness, whereas the tiniest light can promote wakefulness.
- Avoid large meals before bedtime. The digestion process can interfere with sleep.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs – although they make you drowsy, they don’t provide restorative sleep. On the contrary, you wake up in the morning feeling tired and groggy.
Even after trying all the tricks in the book, if you still have trouble falling asleep, consider taking professional help. Insomnia, anxiety, and depression could be a few of the reasons that are keeping you awake at night.
Most of us do not keep track of the activities we engage in in the hours preceding bedtime. But, they have a significant impact on the quality of our sleep and consequently our mood on the following day.
The requirement of sleep varies greatly based on the age, gender, occupation, and health status of the person. On average, most individuals need 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep.
We do have our bright, fascinating screens tempting us to look at them. It is high time we realize the health benefits that sleep provides us with.
Good sleep hygiene and good quality sleep pave the way for improved general health. This helps you to stay alert and productive during the day. So, now that you are armed with this information dream on at night so you can achieve all your dreams during the day!