Sleep hygiene is the term used to describe the practices that one engages in to ensure quality sleep. Good sleep hygiene involves having a regular sleep schedule, keeping your bedroom at a comfortable temperature, and healthy habits that promote better sleep patterns.
Your mattress can impact your sleep and health too. A comfortable one will enable you to sleep better and wake up energized. As you will realize, you are doing much more than helping yourself fall asleep faster by practicing good sleep hygiene.
Why is Good Sleep Hygiene Important?
Good sleep hygiene is essential to overall health, as your body’s ability to regenerate and repair cells rely on good quality sleep. So why is it important?
Good Sleep Hygiene Keeps Weight in Check
Obesity is a growing problem, and it is well known that sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain. You might eat more when you should be sleeping. Your appetite tends to be higher, and cravings for high calories foods increase. Additionally, short sleep cycles interfere with your hormones and workout motivation.
A Good Night’s Sleep is Energizing
It would help if you had a good night’s sleep to wake up in the morning feeling refreshed, with plenty of energy to get through your day. Have you ever woken up with little energy and found it challenging to focus on the tasks at hand?
Lack of sleep can leave you irritable and too tired for social functions or physical exercise. You’ll not achieve much, feel weak and tired, and probably take naps throughout the day.
Keeps Illnesses Away
Good sleep hygiene can lower the risk of some conditions such as stroke and heart diseases. People suffering from sleeping disorders are more likely to have high blood pressure and diabetes, which can cause severe illnesses in the long run.
Sleep also affects glucose metabolism and enhances insulin action. People who have sleep problems might also have higher levels of glucose intolerance and diabetes.
Good Sleep Hygiene Alleviates Depression
You’re more likely to become depressed if you aren’t sleeping well. Depression and sleep problems often go hand in hand. Your body’s natural circadian rhythm can be affected by chronic illness, environmental factors such as light pollution or noise, and the stress experienced during an emotional trauma. The effects of insomnia can be far-reaching – it impacts mood and behavior.
How to Implement Good Sleep Hygiene in Your Life?
Have a Routine
It’s best to have your sleep routine ready when it’s time for bed. Keep things calm and maintain a regular, consistent bedtime within an hour or two of one another every day. Don’t wait until you feel tired to go to bed. Go earlier, giving yourself time to unwind before falling asleep.
Use Your Bedroom Only for Sleep
Your bedroom is not a catchall space where you eat, watch TV, or do other activities. It should be an oasis for relaxation. Make sure the room is dark, quiet, and comfortable to support your good sleep hygiene routine.
Stay away from the computer or television in your bedroom and don’t read something stimulating right before going to bed. The goal is to have a dark, quiet space that helps you drift off easily. Also, don’t bring your phone or other gadgets to bed.
Ensure you Sleep at the Right Temperature
The best sleep environment is at a comfortable temperature that allows you to fall asleep without tossing and turning because you’re too hot or too cold.
Exercise is a crucial part of maintaining your health and can help in getting better sleep. An active body will give you the chance to switch off at night, but be careful not to overdo it or exercise too close to bedtime. Doing so can lead to insomnia. Exercise in the morning and slow down the activities as the evening draws near.
Avoid Stimulants in the Evening
Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine are all stimulants that can affect your sleep. Be mindful of how these substances may affect you, especially if you’re having trouble falling asleep at night. If necessary, cut down on them gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms. If you have to use them, only do so in the morning hours.
Sleep with Headphones Off
Headphones in bed might seem like a good idea for drowning out noise, but their bulky form can disrupt your sleep. The material covering the headphones will be heavy on your ears and also prevent you from hugging your pillow comfortably.
Avoid Heavy Meals Before Bedtime
Try to eat dinner at least 2 hours before going to bed. If you’re hungry, choose a light snack that won’t affect your sleep, such as crackers and cheese or plain yogurt.
Avoid Sleeping Pills
Sleeping pills can be helpful to those with severe sleep problems or those who need occasional help getting off to sleep. However, they should not become a habit. They can interfere with the body’s natural sleep cycle.
Maintain a Good Sleep Hygiene for Overall Health
Good sleep habits improve overall health, while poor sleep habits can lead to many medical problems like diabetes and depression. Implementing a routine specific to an individual’s needs while mindful of surrounding factors will improve sleep quality.