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What Is Sleep Hygiene?

Sleep plays a critical role in cell regeneration, restoration, and repair. It also facilitates better bodily processes and restores its various essential functions, allowing you to prepare for the next day.

Sadly, sleep deprivation is a pervasive issue for many people. In the United States, over 35% of adults sleep less than the recommended seven hours daily, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, more than half of Americans feel sleepy during the day at least three and up to seven days a week.

Sleep deprivation can be caused by a lot of things. Apart from insomnia, sleep apnea, and other types of sleeping disorders, serious health issues can trigger loss of sleep in most individuals. Lack of sleep could create several problems including reduced productivity and increased risk of serious diseases.

If your sleeping problems are caused by factors other than major health issues, for which you have to be seen by a medical professional, consider sleep hygiene as one of the more helpful solutions.

Basics of Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene is defined as maintaining healthy sleeping habits an individual does before hopping on the bed for shut-eye. Proper sleep hygiene, to put it simply, helps you get a good night’s sleep.

Maintaining proper sleep hygiene involves the things you do during the day. Many people have the opinion that bedtime doesn’t start until 10:00 PM or 30 minutes from the time they’re in bed. However, your behaviors as soon as you wake up significantly impact how your sleep will turn out.

Your behavior, actions, schedules, diet, and daily routine can either negatively or positively impact the quality of your slumber, and getting adequate sleep is critical in maintaining your overall well-being. Sleep deprivation is linked to serious diseases, so it should be avoided.

Creating good sleep hygiene is critical to prepare yourself for a restful night, boosting your immunity, enhancing your physical, mental, and cognitive health, and creating a better quality of life.

Putting Sleep Hygiene Into Practice

Proper sleep hygiene means acquiring proper behaviors and having a sleeping environment that’s promoting uninterrupted sleep. It can be different from one person to another. For instance, some people prefer to keep the lights on, but experts recommend keeping the lights off to send a signal to your body it’s time to rest.

These tips are designed to work on most people, but if the methods don’t work for you, choose other strategies until you find the best set of actions suitable for you.

Healthy Habits During the Day

Conditioning your body to get a good night’s sleep starts during the day, even while you’re doing household chores or working on a challenging project in the office. By performing these suggested actions, your body’s circadian rhythm will be better aligned, reducing incidences of sleep interruptions. Rise Science offers additional strategies to help you sleep better, but here are some of the things you could do:

  • Get Daily Dose Of Vitamin D

Staying under the sun not only helps your body produce Vitamin D, but it can also help recalibrate your circadian rhythm—your body’s biological clock.

  • Perform Exercises

A workout not only releases feel-good hormones called endorphins, but it can also help you sleep better at night, especially if you schedule your exercises in the late afternoon or early evening.

  • Limit Naps

While getting enough sleep during the night is the goal, sleeping during the day should be limited to prevent keeping you awake for longer periods at night. If you can’t help yourself from dozing off during the day, limit it to 20-30 minutes. Also, don’t take a nap late in the afternoon.

  • Tone Down Caffeine Consumption

Coffee and tea contain stimulants that can keep you active during the day. However, taking too much in the latter part of the afternoon won’t help you wind down when it’s time to sleep. At the same time, don’t make the common mistake of drinking coffee to help you sleep because this is counterintuitive. In case you want to have a drink in the evening, try to have a decaffeinated one.

  • Have Dinner Early

Your body’s metabolism process slows down during the night to prepare for a restful sleep. This means generally, you should take lighter meals to help you sleep soundly at night. Make sure to take your last meal for the day at least 2 hours before hitting the bed.    

  • Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Have you ever noticed how you become sleepy after taking a few shots of alcoholic drinks? While alcohol can help you sink into your bed faster, you’re not guaranteed to have a restful slumber as alcohol can be a diuretic, forcing you to wake up in the middle of the night with the urge to pee.

Creating A Conducive Environment For Sleeping

Apart from practicing daily health habits, your bedroom habits and their physical components are critical elements in sleep hygiene as well. To achieve proper sleep hygiene, create a sleeping environment that induces ultimate comfort and calmness. Consider the following:

  • Establish Consistent Sleeping And Waking Schedules

Make sure to sleep and wake up at the same time, even on a weekend or while you’re on travel. This further strengthens your circadian rhythm’s sense of sleep and wake-up periods.

  • Get To Bed When You’re Tired

Doing this can help prevent you from tossing and turning in bed and have too much time on your hands to start thinking about negative thoughts.

  • Leave Your Worries Behind

Too much stress can negatively impact your health and have you to lose some sleep. Try calming yourself with relaxing oils such as lavender and peppermint.

  • Limit Activities In Bed

Apart from sleeping and having sex, don’t be tempted to perform work or other activities in your bed as this can prevent sleeping peacefully.

  • Comfortable Mattress And Pillows

Having pillows that don’t cause you back and neck pains are very important for a restful sleep.

  • Lower Room Temperature

A cool room promotes better sleep, and it’s suggested to keep your bedroom temperature to 65 degrees Fahrenheit for a comfortable sleep.

  • Don’t Let Light In

Block out curtains and use eye masks to help regulate your circadian rhythm. Turn off electrical devices such as mobile phones or keep them away from your bed.

  • Get Rid Of Noises

Loud noises and sounds can also keep you awake. Consider keeping air pollution down by wearing earplugs.

Final Thoughts

Sleep hygiene is an essential part of getting restful sleep, so it plays a critical role in promoting your well-being. While the principle applies to all, the actions and methods in having good sleep hygiene may not be the same for everyone.

To work around this, test a few strategies and see how it affects you. If it doesn’t work, consider adopting other methods until you find out what’s best for you.

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