How good is your sleep hygiene? 7 rules to “sleep like a log”!
Good sleep is particularly important for both physical and mental health, as it allows the body and mind to rest, increases productivity and creativity, improves the mood and revives. Everyone, young and old, can benefit from a quality sleep, which is easily achieved when the rules of sleep hygiene are met. “Sleep hygiene” is a catchall term used to describe a set of factors that -according to research- influence and ensure a peaceful sleep.
The 7 rules of sleep hygiene
First, let’s start by noticing that difficulty in falling asleep, insomnia, repeated awakenings during the night or sleepiness during the day are the most common signs of poor sleep hygiene. To reverse this situation and improve the quality and duration of sleep, it is important to observe the following rules:
Room lighting: The darker the room, the deeper and more uninterrupted your sleep will be. Turn off the lights, use heavy, dark-colored curtains or wear an eye mask. Yet, if you can’t sleep without a source of light, then prefer low and discreet lighting, emitting warm rather than cold shades.
Room temperature: Your bedroom should be comfortably cool since both excessively high and excessively low temperatures interfere with sleep. The ideal temperature should be around 16-18°C or 18-21°C during the summer months.
Bedroom area: A neat bedroom exudes safety and relaxation. Keep it free of unnecessary items (e.g., clothes, decorations, etc.), clean, dust-free and tidy in general.
Activities before bedtime: Are you occupied with your cell phone, computer or TV close to bedtime (“blue light” exposure)? Do you drink coffee, alcohol or exercise vigorously? All these habits lead to hyperstimulation, put the mind in a state of alertness, therefore “sabotaging” the quality and duration of sleep.
Bedtime schedule: It is important to establish a consistent schedule that you will be able to follow every single day. Set a wake-up time and stick to it, whether it’s a weekday or weekend. Same goes for bedtime. As tempting as it may seem going to bed a little later, prioritize the sleep and meet your set schedule.
Naps: Napping for 20-45’ is beneficial as it helps you regain the energy you need for the rest of the day. However, if you overdo it, it will negatively affect your nighttime sleep. Thus, try to keep your naps relatively short.
Eating before bed: Heavy, fatty and big meals can cause indigestion, gastroesophageal reflux and general discomfort. For that reason, prefer small, light snacks that will keep you full without weighing you down and finish your dinner at least two hours before bedtime.