Tips to improve quality of sleep: sleep hygiene
When was the last time you had difficulty falling asleep? Or difficulty staying asleep? Have you ever woken up too often during the same night resulting in you being tired the next day?
What do you think is the reason that is interrupting your sleep? It can be worrying about a big presentation the next day, or just 2 a.m. thoughts. It can be noisy surroundings, physical pain, emotional distress or excitement! Whatever be the reason, it causes us to be extremely exhausted and low on energy the next day. It is extremely crucial for us to maintain a healthy sleep pattern for our physical, mental and emotional well- being.
Sleep is a restoration function of our body. The primary source of our body’s energy is Cerebral Glucose that is pumped in our brain continuously. Since we aren’t doing any physical activity while we are sleeping, our metabolism slows down. This in turn leads to our brain using more of Cerebral glucose that helps us stay energetic throughout the next day. Clearly, when we do not get enough sleep one night, we are bound to feel exhausted and uncomfortable the next day. Such sleeping pattern repeated over a period of weeks or even months can make an individual prone to Anxiety disorders and even Depression!
A lot of us suffering from this issue tend to self- diagnose our condition to be Insomnia. But studies have shown that in a number of cases, people suffering from sleep issues are actually in the cycle of unhealthy lifestyle. Now, as important it is to go to a sleep clinic and deal with the problem ideally, we cannot entirely rely on popping sleeping pills. Sleep medication can be highly addictive. Gradually, we are forced to take a higher dosage to get the same effect since our body develops a ‘tolerance’ for them. For some individuals, it is definitely very important to take support of sleeping pills. However, following are the 7 sleep hygiene practices that must be followed by everyone to ensure a good night’s sleep.
Sleep hygiene is defined as the ideal routine practices and habits that help us overcome sleep problems and improve our quality of sleep. The best part about this is that we can practice sleep hygiene individually without any outside help. Following are a few sleep hygiene practices you can do to improve your sleep.
- EXERCISE: With increasing luxuries and facilities like cars, lifts and escalators, our bodies end up not getting physically tired enough. No matter if we are mentally exhausted, we feel like our body is unable to rest and fall asleep. A regular exercise routine during any part of the day can do wonders to our sleep pattern. It can ensure that our body muscles get tired so that they can easily rest while night time.
- AVOID STIMULANTS: Over consumption of caffeine in the form of coffee, nicotine, or alchohol can disrupt our sleep schedule. It makes our brain remain active even when we are trying to sleep. If you are having more than 3 cups of coffee a day, you might want to cut down for the sake of your sleep. Also, studies have shown that alcohol consumption leads to fragmented sleep making you face an exhausting next day.
- DIET: One must ensure that they are having light and less oily dinner. Having heavy dinner can cause feelings of discomfort and uneasiness though the night, ultimately disturbing the sleep. Also, the food must be eaten at least 2 hours before bed time so that it gets a chance to get digested properly. Going to bed immediately after eating can cause indigestion or even restlessness.
- ENVIRONMENT OF THE ROOM: An individual must ensure that while they are going to sleep, their room is dark and at a comfortable temperature. It shouldn’t be too cold or too hot. As much as we love fairy lights above our bed, they can be too bright, ultimately disrupting our sleep. We can try getting more soothing night lamps if necessary.
- MANAGE STRESSORS: The stress that is caused by the life circumstances must be dealt with. The individual facing trouble with life events like a divorce, breakup, stressful job, financial crisis, etc. must be dealt with, as priority. Most of us just learn to live with some stressors. This type of attitude can cause long term illnesses starting with a Chronic Insomnia! So, try to sort the stressors out, take therapy if necessary and try to keep the stressors outside the bedroom. Meditation can also be effective to deal with anxiety and get a more stable mind.
- GET IN A ROUTINE: Start training yourself to go to bed at a reasonable time and try to minimize the distractions like mobile phone or TV or any sort of social networking addictuoa. With repeated practice and strong will, we can make a notable difference. With trying to start sleeping on time, we train our bodies to gain back it’s natural biological clock or circadian rhythm. This might require a lot of mental strength and commitment but once achieved, it is totally worth it.
- WARM SHOWER: Taking a hot water bath right before bed can help us improve the quality of our sleep. The warm water trickling down body actually relaxes our body muscles making it easier to sleep.
These tips can surely help you to gain back your peaceful night’s sleep but if you still continue to face trouble, you can always seek help from professionals