To many people, the term “sleep hygiene” sounds relatively new. Sleep hygiene simply connotes good sleep habits, whether it is a nap or long. It is common to say “Have a good night rest/sleep” during bedtime. But what is a good night sleep?
Sleep, just like rest, is an essential aspect of a person’s daily routine which hitherto is usually paid less attention to. Matter of fact, sleep is as paramount as water and food, research says.
Facts and Figures about Sleep
Research has it that one in four people has suffered sleep disorders at a point in their lifetime. Just like every other habit, having good or bad sleep hygiene affects the general wellbeing of a person because the quality of one’s sleep sure makes a difference in his health. This is especially because sleep influences essential body systems like the brain, mood, heart and lungs.
The average time required by the World Health Organization for anybody to sleep to be productive is 7 hours daily. Even though gender, age and genetics have been said to influence a person’s sleeping pattern, it is imperative to make efforts in having ‘quality sleep’, which of course, varies from one person to the other. For instance, the number of hours required for a child to have a good sleep is longer than what’s expected of an adult as well as the elderly. What matters, in the end, is that nobody is deprived of good sleep.
Not having enough good sleep has been linked to certain health defects and disorders such as depression, high blood pressure, anxiety, high blood pressure and so on.
As you read further, you will learn easy ways to improve your sleep hygiene. These tips will empower you to assess the quality of your sleep and correct any bad sleeping habits you may be grappling with.
Tips to improve your sleep:
- Ensure that you are relaxed: The primary reason many people lack good sleep is stress. Hence, it helps to be relaxed before going to bed. Relaxation does not end with just lying down, you should endeavor to relax your mind and soul as well. The period before bedtime should not be the time to read the news online, think about stuff that disturbs your peace, catch up on latest gossips, play virtual games, listen to the radio and chat with friends. These are bad ‘pre-sleeping’ habits. A good way to relax is to have a bath, put aside, or totally turn off your gadgets, and if possible, your mind, and just breathe. This seems simple but it may not be easy to do at first because the average person is guilty of one or more of these activities before dozing off. Make a conscious effort to relax and watch your sleep hygiene improve in no time.
- Do not take nicotine, alcohol and caffeine in the evening or night time: Alcoholic drinks, as well as foods that are rich in nicotine and caffeine, affect one’s sleep especially when taken minutes before bedtime. They are made to make one agile and active, hence taking them just before bed time makes you experience difficulty in sleeping. Even though a new study by Florida Atlantic University and Harvard Medical School has disproved caffeine affecting sleep quality, it is still best to avoid it before bedtime. Take little water or juice if you must drink anything.
- Create a conducive atmosphere for sleeping: A lot of people may not know this, but one’s environment (e.g room) affects sleep quality. Something as simple as the colour(s) of the room, the brightness of the lighting, loud music, and room temperature influences how a person sleeps. Research has shown that you get a better chance of having a good sleep in a room coloured blue, green, silver, orange or some shades of yellow, as well as a quiet room.
- Exercise: Among the numerous benefits of exercising is its ability to improve sleep. Average aerobics and workouts can facilitate sleepiness and help you sleep more deeply. Yes, when you exercise during the day, your blood circulation is at its best and your brain becomes more active, but after some time, towards the night, they begin to wind down, hence making you enjoy better rest and fall asleep easily at night. Note that it is advisable not to exercise too late in the day as that can affect how well you sleep at night.
- Schedule your sleeping time and stick to it: One bad sleeping habit a lot of people have is sleeping at “whatever time” they wish. It is difficult to assess the quality of your sleep when you are inconsistent with your sleep time. Deliberately go to sleep at a particular time and endeavor to wake up at a specific time. Repeat the pattern over and again, and there will be a noticeable improvement in your sleep hygiene.
Put all these strategies into use and see yourself becoming a master of your sleep with time. You can read more articles on sleep habits and sleep hygiene here.
About the Author:
Ginika Oluchi Okeke is the content writing lead at KompleteCare. She also doubles as an editor and proofreader for everything that concerns content. When she’s not writing content for KC, you might find her copy-editing works for authors before publication. Reach Ginika at firstname.lastname@example.org
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