Health & Wellness
22 Dec 2020 admin
How to Improve Your Sleep – Sleep Hygiene Explained
Sleep is a natural part of life and one of the natural laws of healthy living. Getting quality sleep is just as important as eating a balanced diet and getting the right amount of exercise. So, if you find yourself struggling to fall asleep, or waking up at intervals in the middle of the night, then it may be time to adjust your lifestyle to help you get the best quality of sleep.
What is Sleep Hygiene?Sleep hygiene refers to good sleep habits that can help you sleep better at night or generally have a better sleep quality. Many sleep disorders such as insomnia are developed due to bad sleeping habits cultivated over a long period. If you need help falling asleep or you want to improve the quality of sleep you get every night, here are some healthy sleep habits for you:
Set A Sleep ScheduleSometimes, you may be struggling to fall asleep at night because your body’s sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm is out of place. To recalibrate your circadian rhythm, it is advisable to have a fixed sleep schedule and stick to it. You should try to stick to this schedule even on the weekends and holidays. When you do this over time, your body adjusts to this routine, making it easier for you to fall asleep at night and wake up.
Have a Good Night RoutineGood sleep hygiene involves having a consistent, relaxing night routine. Having a routine helps your mind and body prepare for sleep. Most sleep experts recommend that you begin your night routine half an hour to an hour before your scheduled bedtime. Your night routine doesn’t have to be complex, as long as the activities you do before bed calms your mind from the stress of the day and prepares you for sleep. An example of a simple night routine you can get started with is:
- Eat light and healthy at least two hours before your sleep time.
- Take a warm shower to relax your body from the tension of the day.
- Engage in light exercise or stretches to relax your muscles
- Read a book
- Journal and write a to-do list for the next day.
- Listen to relaxing music. It would help if you had a bedtime playlist that encourages you to sleep.
Keep Electronic Devices Out Of The RoomThe blue light emitted by most electronic devices affects the release of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone released in your body to make you sleep. When your melatonin levels drop, it becomes harder for you to fall asleep. To sleep better, make it a point of duty to turn off your electronic devices at the start of your night routine, or preferably take them out of your room.
Optimize Your Room For SleepGood sleep hygiene also includes optimizing your room to enable you to sleep better at night. If you can afford it, invest in a quality mattress and beddings. You can also improve your bedroom’s ambiance with calming scents like lavender, rose, and chamomile. These scents help you relax and sleep better.
Sleep Only in Your BedWhile being in bed can be very comfortable, doing other activities in bed aside from sleeping may disrupt your sleeping pattern. As much as possible, try to limit being in bed to only when you are about to sleep. This way, your brain registers your bed as your sleeping zone, and whenever you get to bed, it’s easier to fall asleep. Also, as soon as you wake up, get up from the bed and begin your morning routine in other areas of your home. Ensure you don’t go back to bed unless you’re ready to sleep at night.
Reduce NapsNapping during the day makes it harder for you to sleep later in the night. This is because napping reduces the “sleep debt” you have to pay back at night. When you take a long nap in the afternoon or evening, you may find it harder to fall asleep at your scheduled time or even wake up earlier than you usually do. If you absolutely have to take a nap, limit it to no more than thirty minutes and not in the evening.
Limit Caffeine IntakeCaffeine is a stimulant that keeps you active for an extended period. Depending on how frequently you use caffeine and your tolerance, the effect of a cup of coffee can last anywhere from 3 to 7 hours. If caffeine is still active in your system, you may find it hard to sleep or wake up frequently in the middle of the night. If you plan to sleep better, then it is advisable to cut down on your caffeine intake. Taking soda and tea has the same effect on your sleep pattern, and so you should limit their intake too.
Exercise RegularlyExercise is great for your body. It is an effective way of managing stress and can be relaxing when done in the right way. Regular exercise for thirty minutes a day can help you sleep better and improve your general well-being. You don’t have to register in a gym to get your required hours of exercise. You can take frequent walks and try out simple home exercises. You can also combine your daily exercises with yoga and other relaxation techniques. However intense exercise immediately before bed can cause difficulty in sleeping right away therefore engage in light exercises 2 hours before bed. In summary, these are basic guidelines to help you sleep better. Proper sleep hygiene involves any activity that enables you to sleep better, so feel free to add other tips that work for you. Do you have problems getting quality sleep? We can connect you with a physician to help diagnose your symptoms and provide the best recommendations to develop healthy sleep hygiene.
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