Sleep hygiene is defined as habits that are necessary to have a good night’s sleep quality and full daytime alertness.
Practicing good sleep hygiene is crucial to maintain a balanced emotional, physical and mental health. In addition, it can also improve productivity and quality of life. Here are some recommendations of lifestyle and attitude modifications that can improve your sleep hygiene.
Spending an appropriate amount of sleeping time in bed is important, not too little or too excessive. Read here to understand more.
Within the brain, the body’s alternating sleep-wake cycle is controlled by an internal ‘clock’. Most bodily processes are synchronised to this 24-hour physiological clock. Therefore, you should establish a regular sleeping and waking time.
Although naps are important to add extra productivity boost during a long day, frequent and longer siestas can interfere with night time sleep. So, limit your naps to no more than 30 minutes per day.
Your bedroom should be quiet, dark, cool and comfortable for optimal sleep. Choose comfortable mattress and pillows. Turn off or adjust the lights before you sleep.
Avoid watching television, looking up close at the computer, tablets or phones at least 1 full hour before going to sleep. The light from these screens will trick your brain to think it’s daytime again. This is because these devices use blue light, which is the strongest wavelength of light that your brain perceives as the sunlight.
Exercise improves your overall health and night time sleep quality. To start, you may try 30 minutes of cycling or jogging. However, keep in mind not to perform strenuous workouts (ideally 3 hours) close to bedtime.
Large, heavy, fatty or fried meals, spicy food, citrus fruits and carbonated drinks often cause disrupted sleep. Moreover, it may trigger indigestion that can lead to acid reflux in those who suffer the condition. Read this list of food that can help to promote good sleep.
Even though smoking are claimed to help smokers to relax, the nicotine content in cigarettes is a stimulant which can accelerate your heart rate and increase your blood pressure. These will then cause you to keep awake longer. Caffeine is also a stimulant which amps up your nervous system, thus your brain thinks it's waking time instead of winding down. On the other hand, alcohol is a depressant which slows down your nervous system. While drinking before bed helps you to doze off, alcohol disrupts the sleeping pattern rhythm, thus you may not feel refreshed the next morning.
If you have tried and failed to improve your sleep, talk to your doctor as you may be suffering from insomnia or another health issues.
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