Importance of Good Sleep
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “hygiene”? If you are like most people, your mind will instantly take you to places that include bathing, washing, changing clothes, brushing teeth, applying deodorant, cleaning the house, trimming nails, applying sanitizer, etc. Over the period of all these years, humanity has constantly been evolving to the point that hygiene is the basic standard that tells us much about the level of social awareness and standards.
We don’t view hygiene as an add-on; instead, it is a necessary trait, characteristic, and activity to prevent infection, boost the quality of life, and make ourselves more presentable.
But, what if you came to know about another type of hygiene, which is as essential as the one mentioned above; however, many of us fail to implement this type of hygiene. Shocked already, huh?
We refer to sleep hygiene as essential for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being; yet, it is glossed over by many.
What Exactly is Sleep Hygiene?
Before we jump into our list of best tips for practicing good sleep hygiene, you might still be confused about the general meaning of sleep hygiene. Let us put this straight first: let us all agree that a goodnight’s sleep is something that we all need and, some even crave, but only a few get enough of it.
We all struggle at some time in our lives with falling asleep or staying asleep, or incorporating a healthy sleep and wake routine to stay productive. Most of us have no trouble managing the sporadic bad night’s sleep, but when sleepless nights turn into normalcy, it becomes necessary to make adjustments and incorporate precautionary measures to practice good sleep hygiene rules.
You might think of sleep hygiene in similar ways as good dental hygiene because sleep hygiene provides an essential preventive role as well as boost our capability of getting more sleep. As you might have already understood by now, sleep hygiene has nothing to do with cleanliness; however, a clean and comfy bedroom might improve sleep.
It’s also important that you have a new and clean mattress. If it’s older than seven years, read best mattress reviews and consider purchasing a new one.
To make it easy, let us say that good sleep hygiene refers to good habits and practices that can help conduct a good night’s sleep regularly. A number of daily practices are required to help us get to the point where we can finally enjoy a restful and restorative sleep every night.
Here are six rules for good sleep hygiene:
#1 Have a Consistent Sleep Routine
The first rule is also an obvious one, as you know that in order to succeed in ANYTHING, including sleep, you will need to be consistent first. And the easiest way you can do that is by having a routine by incorporating a fixed “go-to-sleep” and “wake up” time. And this consistency shouldn’t be delimited to the weekdays alone but also include the weekends. That said, make sure to build a steady and consistent sleep and wake-up pattern.
#2 Enjoy Natural Light
Don’t rush into getting ready to work or prepping your morning coffee whenever you wake up. We recommend taking out some time every day, and exposing yourself to the natural light outside, first things in the morning. Even when it is cloudy outside, all you need to do is open your blinds, pull back the curtains, and enjoy some time gazing out of the window. If you want, you can take your morning coffee outside and sit in your terrace or backyard while sipping on it.
#3 Avoid Napping during the Day
Yes, you read this one right! If you have a hard time falling asleep at night, you must skip napping during the day (unless your job demands you to work different shifts). Daytime naps negatively affect the restoration value of a goodnight’s sleep, which is why it is advised to get into bed earlier and wake up earlier the following day instead of napping sporadically throughout the day.
#4 Take Your Caffeine in the Morning
If you cannot get your brain into alertness or focus mode without coffee, you should consume it in the morning. However, avoid drinking coffee in the afternoon (after 3 PM) and in the evening. Not everyone is familiar with the fact that the half-life of one cup of coffee is at least five hours, which means that if you consumed a cup of coffee at 9 AM, 50% of caffeine is still left in your body by 2 PM. That said, it will take another five hours (till 6 PM) to have the caffeine ratio reduced to the next half (25%).
#5 Avoid Working Out Before BedtimeKeep your workout sessions limited to the morning or afternoon. If you have to move your body, you might want to go for a quick stroll in the evening; however, avoid indulging in heavy exercise at that time. As we all know, exercise releases dopamine and serotonin by arousing our physiology. This kind of highly-activated mode is incompatible with relaxation and sleep, which is why intensive workout sessions should be avoided before bedtime.
#6 Create a Relaxing Before-Bed Routine
By creating a ritual each day before bedtime, you can prepare your mind and body for sleep. You can turn on relaxing sounds/ music, have chamomile tea, or have a warm and relaxing bath. Once you are tucked in your bed, make sure that all lights are turned off, so your body can produce melatonin. The hormone of melatonin is essential for having a good night’s sleep.
Don’t forget to put aside your tech gadgets at least one hour before sleeping time. You need to have a clear distinction between your daytime activities that require your physical and mental alertness and your nighttime relaxation mode that allows your mind and body to wind up and get into hibernation mode.
Use comfortable and cozy beddings, darken the room, and keep the temperature ideal for sleep. By incorporating these healthy tips, you will be on the right path to good sleep hygiene.