(Article Contributed by Swapnil Sinari M.A.Psychology)
Sleep hygiene means habits that help to have a good night’s sleep. This is a set of practices that help you get a good night's sleep, and wake up rested and refreshed in both mind and body.
Drugs, alcohol, various electronic media such as TV and computers, heavy workloads and late-night activities are just a few of the reasons why we may find ourselves not ready to get a good night's rest. Our bodies have an internal clock. Any activities that disrupt or confuse our internal clock can interfere with quality sleep and cause poor sleep hygiene.
Here are some of the suggestions and tips to improve sleep patterns : -
- Make sure that the sleep environment is pleasant and relaxing. The bed should be comfortable, the room should not be too hot or cold, or too bright.
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol too close to bedtime. While alcohol is well known to speed the onset of sleep, it disrupts sleep in the second half as the body begins to metabolize the alcohol, causing arousal.
- Exercise can promote good sleep. Vigorous exercise should be taken in the morning or late afternoon. A relaxing exercise, like yoga, can be done before bed to help initiate a restful night's sleep.
- Food can be disruptive right before sleep; stay away from large meals close to bedtime. Also dietary changes can cause sleep problems, if someone is struggling with a sleep problem, it's not a good time to start experimenting with spicy dishes.
- Establish a regular relaxing bedtime routine. Try to avoid emotionally upsetting conversations and activities before trying to go to sleep. Don't dwell on, or bring your problems to bed.
- Associate your bed with sleep – it is not a good idea to carry your work, typing, reading or writing tasks to your bed.
- Switch off your TV and computers at least 30 mins before time to bed. This is because the bright light from the screens of these electronic gadgets falling on our eyes’ retina sends confusing signals to our brain.
- It is not a good idea to read interesting / thriller type story books or novels in your bed. Reading technical or boring magazines may in fact promote sleep.
- Relaxing and soothing music will promote sleep.
- If you have been tossing and turning in bed for a long time – it is a good idea to get out of bed and do some small chore. You can even eat or munch something light. Go to bed again after a few mins – there is a greater chance of sleep onset.