In the era of the device lit bedroom corners, working without time boundaries, and liquors on every friend’s beverage rack; sleep is an uncertainty. Sleep is almost a forgotten cure to most of our daily health issues. Now we are awakening towards a new generation that has to be thought how to fall and sleep. And that is what modern medicine calls “Sleep Hygiene”.
In simple words, Sleep Hygiene is a set of “good habits for sleeping well” that help the body sleep better and help increase your productivity. Here are simple rules that might help you with sleepless nights
Rule 1 — Set the environment right!
Some important environmental factors include light exposure, temperature, ambient sound, distractions, etc.
- Temperature — 16 to 20 degrees Celcius is considered appropriate by experts for an ideal sleep
- Light exposure — minimal light exposure is recommended for undisturbed sleep, it is said that if you are able to see your hand in the dark, then it ain’t dark enough for you to fall asleep. But people prefer rooms to be minimally lit in such cases opt for a lighting source away from the eyes.
- Sound — Being in a crowded city means, the streets aren’t quiet all the time, using a white noise app or closing down windows, or using soundproofing might come in handy, some may use earplugs but long exposure is not quite recommended by experts
Rule 2 — Morning and evening routines
Having a routine like meditation, going for a walk, reading the newspapers as morning routines and reading a book, talking with family members or friends, and taking your dog for a walk as evening routines set an alarm to the brain that day and night has come and thus the body needs to adapt accordingly.
Rule 3 — Digital Mindfulness
The most difficult part of having good sleep hygiene is keeping away from devices. Ideally, it is said that we need to keep away from our devices including TV, Ebook readers, and mobile phones 30 — 60 mins before bedtime. Now that window of 30–60 minutes might sound a bit worrying as we are wired to our devices until we fall asleep. But making small changes like trying to put them away at least 10–15 mins before bedtime can be a start point for a good night’s sleep
Rule 4 — Behaviours around sleep time
Behaviors around sleep time are important to fall asleep, some of these behaviors include
- Avoiding strenuous exercise just before bedtime
- Avoiding caffeinated drinks after 3 pm
- Avoiding heavy meals just before bedtime
- Avoiding large volumes of fluids including water just before going to bed
- Avoiding excessive daytime napping
- Avoid doing activities that stimulate your brain like playing games before falling asleep
- Keeping away from deep and serious thoughts
Rule 5 — Fall asleep the right way
It typically takes 15–20 mins to fall asleep, if you can’t fall asleep after 20 mins, do some boring activity like reading a boring book or listening to suttle music or meditating for a few minutes with deep long breaths. Sometimes you just need to find out what puts you to sleep and try doing those activities when you have difficulty
Rule 6 — Restoring boundaries
You must start understanding your bedtime, and routines around bedtime and communicate with family members and friends so that they know when it is time for you to go to bed. Understanding that sleeping at the same time every day and for the same duration is very critical to maintaining a routine sleep habit. Deviating from this can have adverse effects on your sleep and mental health.
Rule 7 — Ditch the clock
Another common problem that many of us have is looking at the clock every now and then in the middle of the night to check if it is time for us to wake up, this disturbed our sleep cycle and makes it difficult to fall asleep. You can either put your clock away from the bedside or have a person who can wake up on time, so you can sleep without doubts.
Rule 8 — Smart napping
Napping for more than an hour must be taken into consideration as this can led to sleeplessness at night. Power naps ranging from 15–20 mins and longer naps ranging from 60–90 minutes are ideal based on a person’s routine. Anything beyond this might interfere with normal sleeping
Rule 9 — Maintain a sleep routine
As I told you earlier, having a fixed sleep time with a fixed duration is crucial for sleep health, this way you train the brain to wake up and go to bed at the same time and also makes it easy for your body to fall asleep as it knows it’s the time!
Rule 10 — Seek help!
These were some general suggestions based on what experts say, but people might still have issues even after following the above recommendations. It is important to understand when to seek help. Talking to a sleep physician can work wonders for your sleep health.
I understand that these suggestions are easier said than done. But we can still start slow and keep a consistent habit, small changes lead to bigger differences. Hope you all get a good night’s sleep tonight!