Many people nowadays suffer from poor sleep hygiene due to busy, hectic, and usually stressful life they live daily. This is problematic as it can cause heart disease, type two diabetes, weight gain, and reduced productivity during the day. On the other hand, good sleep hygiene increases productivity, efficiency, and optimizes our overall health. That’s why it’s essential to learn how to sleep better at night. Read on to find out how to practice good sleep hygiene.
1. The Definition And Importance Of Good Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene encompasses all the behaviors and rituals that we have just before going to bed. There are two types of sleep hygiene: good and bad sleep hygiene. Staying up all night often or sleeping in during the weekends are both considered to be examples of bad sleep hygiene.
On the other hand, going to bed at almost the same time every night and avoiding certain foods and drinks are examples of good sleep practices. It’s essential to maintain good sleep hygiene, as sleeping is the only time we allow our bodies to recharge and prepare us to endure long working days before us. If we get enough sleep, we feel energized, and we are more productive and able to achieve more things in less time.
If your sleep hygiene is right, your sleep is sound and high-quality, enabling your body to rest and rebuild. On the other hand, if you practice some terrible sleep habits, it can cause inadequate and restless sleep, leading to your body feeling exhausted, unfocused, sleepy, and tired all the time.
Regular and quality sleep is essential for our mental, physical, and emotional health. It also helps you concentrate better, be in a better mood, and be more productive. All of these are reasons strong enough for you to start practicing good sleep hygiene if you haven’t started already.
2. Better Performance Is Possible With Proper Sleep Hygiene
To improve your sleep, you need to take some actions and make them a part of your regular bedtime routine.
We are all different people, and so different things work for us. We’re different in the aspect of the number of hours we need to sleep to feel well-rested. So, what exactly is enough sleep? A general rule states that an average adult person needs from 7 to 8 hours of sound sleep. This doesn’t have to necessarily work for everybody, as there are two types of sleepers: long and short sleepers.
Long sleepers are people who need more hours of sleep than the average to function correctly, while short sleepers need fewer hours than the average. It means that short sleepers can work adequately with only 6 hours of sleep and long sleepers with 10 to 12 hours.
It’s not a sleep disorder but kind of a baseline requirement for them. Research suggests that this division might be connected to our genes. For you to find out what’s the perfect sleep amount for you, start by sleeping for 7 hours each night for a few nights in a row and gradually increase the number if you feel unrested until you reach the point when you feel well-rested and energized.
Sleep In A Quiet, Calm And Darkroom
The ambiance where we sleep is also highly relevant. Starting from the bed and bedding, they have to be comfortable. The best bedroom for sleeping is a quiet place, a dark and cold room. If you have noisy neighbors, if you live in an apartment block or your bedroom window faces a busy street, there are some things you can do to lessen the noise. To block out noise, you can use earplugs or a white noise machine, which can help you soothe yourself to sleep.
Also, if your bedroom is on the sunny side, you can make it darker by installing some sun blocking curtains and blinds. Another important thing that can impede your sleep is your or your partner’s snoring. Snoring affects the quality of sleep as well as our health, but fortunately, there are many snoring appliances available nowadays, that can lessen the detrimental effects caused by snoring.
Limit Screen Time Just Before Bed
Looking at our tablet, phone, or computer screens just before bedtime is disadvantageous to our sleep. The blue light that is emitted by these screens reminds our brain of the natural sunlight, tricking it into thinking that it’s daytime and that it needs to be awake. Also, these devices tend to cause strong feelings, such as stress, anger, excitement, and happiness.
They can be overwhelming. It’s best to leave these devices somewhere far away from the bed, so you won’t be tempted to check what’s new on Instagram or Facebook. To practice good sleep hygiene, experts suggest that you don’t look at your phone at least an hour before going to bed. If, however, you use your phone to soothe you, then install a blue light blocking the app, available for Android and iPhone.
Develop A Bedtime Routine
Developing a bedtime routine means developing a set of activities that you do every night 30 to 60 minutes before bed. Eventually, your brain will recognize and code these activities as bedtime routines and prepare itself for sleep. It should include some relaxing activities such as turning off all the electronics, taking a warm bath, aromatherapy or meditation, practicing deep breathing, or reading a book by a soft lamp.
Limit Naps During The Day
Taking naps during the daytime can cause trouble with sleep at night, so you should limit them to 30 minutes or less. They are best practiced in the late morning or early afternoon and avoided in the late afternoon.
Diet And Other Substances
To practice good sleep hygiene, you should avoid eating dense food just before bedtime. You should also avoid drinking too much water before going to bed, as it can cause frequent visits to the bathroom. Caffeine and cigarettes also have detrimental effects on our sleep, and we should try to avoid them entirely or limit their use.
Good sleep is the base for a healthy and easy-going life. Everything seems more comfortable and more delightful if we’re well-rested. We’re able to approach any difficult task that’s before us and handle it most effectively and productively, which is the key to balance and harmony.