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What Is Sleep Hygiene? 10 Things We Should Know

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What Is Sleep Hygiene? 10 Things We Should Know

Excellent sleep hygiene is crucial for physical and mental well-being, enhancing performance and general quality of life. But many people have challenges getting enough quality sleep. Adequate sleep may benefit everyone, from young children to older people, and good sleep hygiene can play a significant role in attaining that aim.

Unfortunately, good sleep hygiene is no longer practiced in today's tech-driven culture; instead, practices that hinder productivity and cause sleep deprivation have taken their place. Many people prominently proclaim how little sleep they get. The phrases "no time for sleep" or "I'll sleep when I'm dead" are repeatedly heard and bragged about. Often prominent CEOs of multi-million- and billion-dollar organizations attribute their success to sleeping for just a few hours. This type of mindset contributes to inadequate sleep hygiene.

Sleep hygiene refers to excellent practices, mindsets, and lifestyle habits that may be altered to promote restful sleep and to create the perfect sleep environment. It is essential to work on ways to improve our sleep habits, including changing routines and investing in optimum bedroom furniture, like adjustable beds, to customize your sleep experience and wake up feeling more rested

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Lack of sleep, disrupted sleep, and feeling tired and groggy all day long are the most obvious symptoms of poor sleep hygiene. Lack of sleep hinders our decision-making, interferes with our thinking, and slows our reflexes. In addition, numerous health issues, such as heart troubles, type 2 diabetes, and obesity, have been linked to insufficient sleep. We can benefit from good sleep hygiene in various ways. According to experts, if we can get at least seven hours of sleep, which is the recommended amount, we may:

  • Experience an increase in energy
  • Feel more content and relaxed
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Accelerated muscle healing
  • Prevent illnesses including diabetes and heart disease
  • Have a better cognitive mindstate
  • Improved immune system

Research has shown that developing positive sleep habits is essential to staying healthy. Good habits become natural after building lasting and beneficial routines, resulting in a continuous reinforcement cycle. 

Try implementing the ten suggestions we listed below to achieve good sleep hygiene:

10 sleep hygiene tips

1. Maintain a Consistent Sleep Routine

Going to bed and waking up at an identical time each day may improve our sleep quality. This is because it can contribute to establishing a regular cycle in our circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles in a person's physical, mental and behavioral changes.

Additionally, the release of melatonin, a hormone that alerts our brain to sleep, has been found in certain studies to be affected by irregular sleep patterns. Research has also found that people who slept later on the weekends often had worse sleep. While it might be challenging to maintain a steady sleep schedule and waking times, even a little more regularity can help. Therefore, establishing a regular wake-up time will progressively change our sleep routine.

2. Monitor Coffee Consumption

Caffeine is a stimulant. Consuming excessive amounts of caffeine too close to bedtime makes it challenging to fall asleep and may create a vicious cycle.  Caffeinated tea or energy drinks have the same effect. People who consume too much coffee throughout their day frequently find it harder to fall asleep at night and often may use sleep aids. Then, because of sleep deprivation at night, the same people use caffeine to compensate for their morning fatigue. As a result, they continue in circles, feeling no more recharged than they were when they started. Give a cut-off time, such as 2:00 p.m., if we’re going to indulge in caffeinated beverages, and do so moderately.

3. Establish a Tranquil Sleeping Environment

We’ve all experienced those days when we feel exhausted and would collapse into bed only to stay awake for hours because we cannot fall asleep. This frustrating experience can be a result of a bad sleeping environment. It has been documented across various sleep studies for years that a relaxing sleeping environment and a bed you feel comfortable in increases the quantity and quality of our REM sleep, which has a direct impact on our emotional stability. 

woman relaxing on comfortable bed

  • Purchase a new quality mattress, like an adjustable bed or PranaSleep mattress, to fully understand how investing in your bedroom furniture can improve different aspects of your daily life.
  • Upgrade your pillows. If your mattress isn’t the problem, the next step is to upgrade your pillow style. City Mattress makes it easy to decide what type of pillow you need by classifying them by material and sleep position!
  • Turn off the lights at night as this could cause our circadian rhythm to be disturbed. To avoid light sources from disturbing our sleep, block windows with blackout curtains. Additionally, strive to maintain a comfortable sleeping temperature in the bedroom.
  • Make the bedroom as peaceful as possible by turning off or blocking sounds. Wear earplugs or headphones if living near a noisy neighborhood or use a fan or a white noise sound machine which will also help to muffle ambient noise and relax your mind.
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4. Manage Stress

Difficulty in falling and staying asleep are the characteristics of insomnia. Insomnia can be exacerbated by anxiety, stress and worrying. If we tend to worry right before bed, we can consider blocking out 30 minutes. Then, assure ourselves that we have completed worrying for the day before bed. For those who live with generalized anxiety, this practice can be difficult, so it is crucial to understand how your sleep quality affects anxiety and learn how to take measures to prevent further disruption. If anxiety is causing restlessness, try these relaxation techniques to help us alleviate stress and sleep better.

relaxation techniques before bed

Breathing Techniques

Consider practicing relaxing and breathing techniques. We can actively relax every muscle in our body, from toes to scalp. Conversely, we may visualize a peaceful environment, pay attention to our breathing's rise and fall or concentrate on a mantra. It is advisable to leave the bedroom if we continue having trouble unwinding and regulating our minds before attempting to fall asleep again.

Meditate

Nothing is worse than having difficulty falling asleep. Unfortunately, many people struggle with the sensation of turning and tossing at night because of worrisome thoughts. If we frequently have trouble sleeping, consider meditating before bed. Studies have found that meditation improves the overall quality of sleep while also making it simpler to get to sleep and remain asleep.

Yoga

Yoga is a soothing and rejuvenating way to end the day. A nationwide survey showed that more than 55% of those who practiced yoga said it improved their sleep. In addition, over 85% reported that yoga made them feel less stressed. We can use supportive props like blocks, blankets and bolsters when trying yoga poses to make us comfortable. This also allows us to hold the poses for a more extended period and continue breathing.

5. Avoid Daytime Naps

Napping reduces the sleep debt necessary for a simple transition into sleep. Sleep debt is the discrepancy between the quantity of sleep require and the amount we receive. A sleep debt develops when we get less sleep than our body needs.

Every one of us has a specific need for sleep each day. Unfortunately, the quality of sleep we require the next night reduces when we nap, resulting in sleep disturbances, difficulties falling asleep, insomnia and sleep deprivation. Napping too much or at the incorrect time of day might be detrimental. If it is absolutely needed to take a nap during the day, limit the snooze to 10 to 20 minutes. It would more likely help us to wake up feeling sleepy the longer our slumber was.

Additionally, napping may disrupt our circadian cycle and may make it difficult for us to fall asleep at night.

couple laughing on mattress

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6. Avoid Eating or Drinking Before Bed

A big dinner just before bed might impede our ability to sleep. This is because eating late at night may influence the release of hormones like melatonin and HGH. It's crucial to avoid going to bed hungry, though. Instead of severely limiting our meals, it's recommended that we eat a sensible quantity and choose food selections that won't interfere with our ability to go to sleep. For example, while some foods can make it more difficult to fall asleep, one research found that eating a meal heavy in carbohydrates four hours before bedtime made people fall asleep faster.

Whereas many people consider a "nightcap" acceptable, alcohol can interfere with people’s sleep later in the evening. Therefore, avoid consuming alcohol before bed and have a drink to get to sleep or look for an alternative wind-down ritual.

7. Exercise Regularly

Exercise benefits our health and mind and can assist in restful sleep. However, some individuals may find that exercising too late in the day affects their capacity to sleep at night. According to research, exercise helps people fall asleep more rapidly and enhances sleep quality.

Moderate aerobic activity can achieve more slow wave sleep. Slow wave sleep is a deep sleep that gives the body and brain time to regenerate. Exercise is a cognitive activity crucial for naturally transitioning to sleep. It can also aid in calming people’s moods and relaxing the mind.

Most people do not experience an adverse effect on their sleep from moderate exercise as long as it is finished at least 90 minutes before bedtime. This provides the body's endorphin levels and core temperature time to recover to sleep-promoting ranges.

woman watching tv eating popcorn bed

8. Avoid Using the Computer or Watching TV

Ninety percent of Americans use their phone before bedtime. Blue light, released by electronic devices like smartphones, computers and TV, may make it difficult for someone to fall asleep. Blue-light-generating devices can also divert attention, which keeps the brain active.

Even if we don't realize it, keeping our phones near our bed disturbs our sleep with message notifications, buzzing and lights that may abruptly turn on in the middle of the night.

According to research, blue light from screens can interfere with melatonin synthesis, a hormone essential for maintaining our circadian rhythm and shortening sleep time.

Unplugging an hour before bed is a great sleep hygiene suggestion to prevent blue light from devices. Avoid using a laptop or smartphone or watching television at least two to three hours before bed. In addition to avoiding blue light, try creating a relaxing routine to help you unwind from the day like with lighting a relaxing scented candle or use lavender oil fabric spray on your pillow cases and bedding.

9. Get Morning Sunlight

Sleep better at night by getting morning sunshine. It may appear not to make sense. However, our day-night cycle is primarily controlled by light, which impacts everything from our body temperature to metabolism to sleep. Without it, our bodies will function according to a genetically established pattern.

a few extra tips

10. Avoid Lying Awake

After about 20 minutes, if it is still hard to fall asleep, it's suggested to get out of bed and seek to unwind somewhere else, like sitting in a cozy reclining chair in a separate room. Rather than doing something stimulating, try something relaxing - like reading a book under a soothing weighted blanket. Then, retire to bed as we begin to feel drowsy. Doing this can persuade our mind to identify our bed with sleep rather than being awake.

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Extra Tips

  • Try to keep up with daily activities even if we are fatigued unless it would be unsafe.
  • To prevent midnight toilet visits, stay hydrated throughout the evening but refrain from drinking too much before bed.
  • If a cigarette smoker, stop two to three hours before going to bed.
  • If still having trouble falling asleep, keep a sleep journal to understand sleeping habits better and talk to a physical therapist about it.
  • For more tips, check out our article on Tips to Improve Sleep Quality

To Sum Up

Sleep is essential to our health, just like nutrition and exercise. When we don't get enough, we compromise more than simply a good night's sleep. We may utilize various strategies to enhance the quality and quantity of our slumber, including exposing ourselves to light during the day, keeping our bedroom comfortable and pleasant with pieces from quality mattress brands and experimenting with meditation and yoga techniques. Everyone should prioritize proper sleep hygiene to maintain our health, happiness and overall quality of life.

 

Image Credits

YuliaYukii/Shutterstock.com

sini4ka/Shutterstock.com

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