Do you spend hours looking at the ceiling before you can fall asleep or wake up thinking it's morning but the clock just sticks at 2.00 A.M?
If yes, then you need to improve your sleep hygiene.
Following sleep hygiene is the simplest way you can improve your sleep and mental health. Sleep hygiene is about creating an environment in the bedroom and routine that assist in getting uninterrupted sleep.
Poor sleep hygiene can be seen through daytime sleepiness, difficulty falling asleep or difficulty maintaining sleep.
An overall inconsistency in quantity or quality of sleep points to poor sleep hygiene.
Having continuous uninterrupted sleep is important for physical as well as mental health. It increases productivity and improves the overall quality of life.
Humans can make habits that serve long-term interests by Creating an environment that suits our long-term interests. Everyone can tailor these techniques to suit your needs.
It is important to test out and adjust these changes according to your personal needs. Take small steps and don’t bombard yourself to make all the changes all at once.
- Set up sleep schedule
When your schedule is set it helps your brain to assimilate the amount of sleep required by the body. Regardless of holidays or off days try to wake up and go to sleep around the same time. Fluctuation in the sleep schedule can mess up your circadian rhythm. With all your work and studying calculate a fixed sleep time making sure it meets your 7-8 hours of sleep. If you have to change your sleep schedules don’t just do it in one big swoop, do it at a pace of 1-2hours per night. Afternoon naps can be made shorter as they decrease the sleep debt. Best if taken in the early afternoon.
2. Define your pre-bed ritual
Following a pre-bed ritual will help induce sleep. It forces the idea that it’s time to sleep like changing into pajamas, brushing your teeth, etc. Keep 30 minutes to unwind it could include some calming music or meditation practice that may help induce sleep.
This should be a device-free time with no TV, phone, laptop, or any other device emitting blue light. The mental stimulation created by these devices is hard to shut down immediately as it reduces melatonin production (a hormone that facilities in sleep).
Keep away from sources of light as it hinders the produces melatonin. Don’t go to bed worried sleep experts recommend writing down the sources of stressors and a to-do list for the next day tackling the situation.
3. Healthy association with bed
The central component of sleep hygiene goes beyond good habits, it’s about setting a positive association with bedroom and sleep. Having a healthy connection with bed and sleep helps. Do all the basic things like choosing the right pillows, mattress, and bed sheets that you are comfortable with. Use heavy curtains that block out light.
Scented lavender candles can be put up before to have a nice odor before you go to bed. Don’t sit in bed and watch TV, scroll on your phone, read or use your laptop. Use your bed strictly for sleeping and nothing more. Keep your phone away from your bed the constant buzzing, notification alerts, and screen lightening up can wake you up momentarily in the middle of the night.
If after 20 minutes of lying in bed you haven’t slept move out and stretch, read or do something to help yourself calm down and relax.
4. Healthy habits in life
Having enough light exposure especially sunlight each day assists the circadian rhythm. At least 30 minutes of exercise makes it easier for you to sleep at night. Avoid doing it within 1-2 hours before bedtime as it increases your body temperature and energy level.
Smoking correlates with a host of sleep problems because nicotine stimulates the body in ways that disrupt sleep. Alcohol works as a depressant making it easy to fall asleep but the effect wears off soon. This causes midnight sleep disturbance. Caffeine consumption should be avoided later in the day as its effect lasts 3-7 hours after consumption keeps you up even when your body requires rest. Dinner should be light and small portions should be consumed.