14 Effective Sleep Hygiene Tips to Follow Regularly
Good sleep is imperative for our health and well-being. Yet, while we all doze off, a good quality restful sleep is a gift that few are blessed with. If you struggle with poor quality sleep, paying attention and revamping your sleep hygiene is the best way to achieve the coveted deep, restful sleep.
Here, we unravel what sleep hygiene is and how to sleep better by making meaningful changes to it.
What is Sleep Hygiene?
Foremost, let us understand what sleep hygiene is. It can be defined as healthy sleep habits that help promote good sleep. It is the behavioural interventions and modifications you inculcate to experience more restful sleep.
Sleep hygiene includes all those science-backed practices you adopt during the daytime and before retiring to bed that create all the difference between a restless night and a restful one.
Why is Sleep Hygiene Important?
Do you know that according to a Fitbit study, India is the second most sleep-deprived country in the world after Japan? Moreover, sleep quality is grim in both adults and adolescents.
It explains why our country’s population’s physical and mental health is of great concern. Sleep hygiene is the best way to turn things around.
Good quality sleep is crucial for mental and physical health, including increased productivity and better-quality life. Sleep hygiene can do that effortlessly.
Another advantage of sleep hygiene is that it virtually costs nothing. Moreover, humans have the ability to change our ingrained habits to better ones with sheer dedication.
Adopting better sleep hygiene is the key to counteracting leading physical and mental problems, including critical issues like insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Given that, let’s check out a few tips for sleep hygiene that can effectively turn poor sleep hygiene into a good one.
1. Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time, even on weekends, constitutes your sleep schedule.
Sticking to it sets your inner body’s clock right. You can, at the most, have a buffer of 20 minutes. Once your internal clock is set right, you will start sleeping at the same time and enjoy a restful sleep. Even if you sleep less at night, you will develop a sleep drive to help you consolidate sleep the following night. Many studies have shown its benefits and the importance of light.
2. Create a Bedtime Routine and Follow It
Creating a relaxing bedtime routine helps you relax and send messages to your brain that it’s time to sleep.
You can start the routine an hour or half an hour before you go to bed. A few tips that you can follow for better sleep are:
- Take a warm bath or soak, preferably with essential oils.
- Practice breathing exercises for sleep, meditation, or even a quiet time to help you relax and unwind.
- Practice gentle stretches that help your muscles relax and drain off body tension.
- Listen to some soft, soothing music that serenades you to sleep.
3. Turn Off Electronic Devices Before You Go to Sleep
All electronic devices emit a blue light, known to reduce the melatonin chemical levels in your body. It is the same chemical that controls your sleep/wake cycle.
The reduction of melatonin makes sleeping difficult and causes frequent sleep disruption.
The blue light from devices also makes your brain alert, which makes sleep a far-away thing.
That is why you should not sleep with the mobile nearby as its blue light, buzz due to notifications, and sudden lights coming off them cause sleep disturbance and make you restless.
4. Exercise Regularly
Exercising regularly keeps your body and mind fit and induces more fitful sleep. If possible, exercising in natural light reaps more benefits as it is better for your all-round health. It helps you sleep easily and decreases the number of times you wake up at night.
The only precaution you must follow is not to exercise at least a couple of hours before bed. It alerts your mind and increases your heart rate, which makes sleeping difficult.
5. Limit Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is a known stimulant that alerts your brain and leaves you energised and active. Once consumed, its effect lasts from 3-7 hours in your body.
Hence, if you consume coffee late evening or after dinner, you are likely to be more alert and energetic at night and face trouble sleeping.
Ideally, you should not consume coffee or alcohol after mid-afternoon though the caffeine tolerance can vary from person to person. Moreover, consuming less caffeine makes you more sensitive to its effects.
It’s important to note that apart from coffee, tea and soda also contain caffeine.
6. Don’t Stay in Bed Awake for More Than 5-10 Minutes
It is advisable not to toss and turn into your bed and become a night-time clock-watcher. It will only increase your stress and make sleeping difficult.
In case you cannot sleep or get back to it after sleep disruption, it’s best to get out of bed and indulge in activities like reading, listening to soothing music, etc. You will soon have your eyelids drooping. Then retire to bed.
7. Optimize Your Bedroom
Optimising your bedroom is another way to induce sleep. The room should be made dark with complete black-out curtains. Ambient, dim light should be used at night.
The room should also be cool with a temperature of around 19 to 24 degrees Celsius, which is most conducive to sleep. The room should be well-ventilated.
It is best to keep the pets outside. You should also try snoring remedies if you or your partner snores and disrupts sleep.
8. Don’t Watch TV, Use the Computer or Read in Bed
As already stated, the TV emits a blue light that makes sleeping difficult. Hence, it should be avoided. However, if required, you can use the computer sparingly.
The best way to invite sleep is to read books. They are highly therapeutic, helping you de-stress and relax to automatically make you feel sleepy.
9. Use Your Bed Only for Sleep & Sex
Everybody, including those with sleep issues, should use the bed for which it is intended, i.e., sleep and sex. Using your bedroom, especially the bed, only for sleeping trains your mind to see the bed as a place to sleep and rest.
Ideally, your bedroom must not have any TV or other electronics. You should also avoid chatting with your spouse in bed.
Suppose, you wake up suddenly in the middle of the night and cannot go back to sleep, try going to another room and try sleeping there.
10. Go to Bed Only When You Are Tired
As stated, you need to train your mind that the bed is a place to sleep. Hence, you should only get into it when sleepy. If not, you will end up tossing and turning all night.
It would increase stress and make things more difficult for you.
If you have gone to bed and cannot sleep even after 20 minutes, you should get out of bed and indulge in relaxing and sleep-inducing activities like reading, listening to music, etc. You will soon feel sleepy and then go to bed.
11. Limit Napping- Or Avoid It If You Can
If you have a nap in the afternoon, you will naturally find it hard to fall asleep at night. You will also tend to wake up more during the night. Hence, you should avoid it as much as possible. If you need to nap, it should not exceed 30 minutes and must be done by early afternoon. You should avoid sleeping in the late afternoon.
12. Manage Stress Before Going to Bed
Stress is one of the biggest enemies of good sleep quality. So, remaining de-stressed and worry-free is crucial to quality sleep. For it:
- You can write down all your stressful thoughts before retiring so that they no longer remain in your head.
- You can also write down your to-do list and other engagements that might be stress triggers for you.
- Breathing exercises for sleep, meditation, light stretches, etc., are your best tools to calm your mind before sleep.
According to research, a weighted blanket offers the same benefits as a deep pressure therapy and can tackle conditions like anxiety and insomnia.
13. Try Essential Oils
Essential oils are known for their calming and soothing effects. Spraying a few drops of it on your pillow, sleep bedding, etc., relaxes you and de-stresses you like no other. It could be the best panacea to sleep better.
14. Use a Comfortable Mattress and Pillow
It is imperative that you use a comfortable mattress and pillows as they are the first things you feel and touch when you get in bed. They will not only offer you comfort but also keep your body pain-free when you get up. Hence, it is crucial to choose them right.
The importance of good sleep cannot be overstated. Sleep hygiene can be your ultimate weapon to tackle sleep disorders, from mild to severe. By following the sleep hygiene tips, you are sure to reap the benefits of quality and restful sleep.
What are the signs of poor sleep hygiene?
A few of the known and tell-tale signs of poor sleep hygiene are:
- Tossing and turning in bed.
- Takes a long time to fall asleep in bed.
- Frequent wake-ups during the night.
- Feeling fatigued, foggy, and drained of energy throughout the day.
- Slowed down reflexes and difficulty in making decisions or executing creative works.
- Feeling more anxious, stressed, and depressed.
If you are facing any of the symptoms, it’s time to become alert and focus on improving your sleep hygiene for better sleep.
What is unhealthy sleeping?
It constitutes all those habits that prevent you from having a reed, restful sleep. It indicates a lack of proper sleep hygiene and results in disturbed sleep, frequent wake-ups, etc., which leaves you tired, energy-less, and irritable in the morning.
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