Oftentimes, the difference between a good day and a bad one is a good night’s sleep. When you get some proper sleep in, you tend to wake up fresh, with your mind and body both feeling active. One’s mood also seems to be linked to a healthy sleeping cycle and it prevents lots of diseases too. These, along with many other factors, make the development of good sleep hygiene habits essential for every person.
Understanding Sleep Hygiene:
Sleep hygiene refers to the habits that improve your ability to fall asleep quicker and help you stay asleep (avoid fragmented sleep). These habits do not need to be the same for every person. It is possible that some of the things that constitute proper sleep hygiene for you may not work for another person. What seems like the ideal sleeping environment for you, in terms of temperature and light, for example, maybe uncomfortable for someone else. This is why it is important to try and find the sleep hygiene habits that work best for you.
Tips to Develop Healthy Sleep Habits:
Medical and sleep experts have found that one can improve their sleep by implementing the following tips:
- Consistent Sleep Schedule – Try sleeping and getting up at a fixed time every day, regardless of weekends or off-days. It is also recommended that one should get 7-8 hours to sleep daily.
- Bed Usage – If you use your bed for sleep only, your mind will associate it with rest. If, for example, you study and watch TV in your bed, your mind may associate your bed with stress or excitement which will decrease the quality of your sleep.
- Light Exposure – Try limiting bright lights in the evenings and avoid using electronic devices excessively. It is especially important to keep your phone and laptop aside at least 30 minutes before getting into your bed to sleep.
- Bedtime Routine – It is good to have a bedtime routine that can signal to your brain that it’s time to relax and sleep. This can be something like dimming the lights, making your room temperature cool, putting on relaxing music, etc.
- Food and Drink – Your diet is another component that is closely linked to your sleep and should be monitored. It is helpful to eat healthy foods and exercise regularly. Things to avoid before going to bed include heavy meals, alcohol, and caffeine. Also, try reducing fluids as you near your bedtime. If hungry, consume light food or snacks.
- Additional Tip – If you’re unable to fall asleep for half an hour after getting in bed, try doing a light activity (without the use of electronic screens) in a dim-lit room.
Test these tips and see whether you can build healthy sleep habits that help improve the quality of sleep that you experience.