Studies show that 51% of adults admitted that they are sleeping less than they should. Simply put, a good night's sleep is needed by most, and they’re just not getting it.
Current advances in technology have changed our lifestyle and even the way we sleep. Our body clocks managed to adapt to the fast-paced nature of our lives and as result, we find it harder to get enough sleep.
Lack of sleep can lead to adverse effects on our well-being, particularly with our energy and brain functions. This is why it’s so important to get quality sleep, and that’s where sleep hygiene comes in.
Otherwise known as good sleep habits, sleep hygiene includes a number of factors, including the amount of time spent resting, the schedule of said rests, the environment we sleep in, among others. Basically, it’s what separates a good sleep from poor quality sleep and involuntary wakefulness.
With that said, let's discuss the things that will get you sleeping without counting sheep all night.
Setting a sleep schedule
People think that it’s more important to get a particular number of hours of sleep. While it’s good to get at least eight hours of sleep, it also matters when we hit the sack.
A majority of people go to bed at around 11pm, and some even later. For others, the time varies each night. However, it is important to set a regular sleep time. This means you might have to condition yourself to call it a day at a set time, even if you’re not sleepy.
Failure to pay attention to our circadian rhythms not only disrupts our sleep pattern in the short term, but also leads to further complications like fatigue, and may even affect our cognitive functions and mental health.
In order to start and maintain a regular sleep schedule, discipline and deliberate intent is needed. Essedntially, you should be wanting to make changes and implement new habits. Once your bedtime comes around, turn off or refrain from using electronic devices or doing anything to disrupt your routine.
Taking midday or afternoon naps might be tempting if you’re feeling sleepy, but it has adverse effects on your sleep pattern. If you constantly feel the need to nap during the day may be a sign of inadequate sleep and may be the result of lack of a consistent sleep schedule.
Having a night time routine also helps you sleep easier as it allows for your body and mind to prepare themselves for rest and recharge. A warm bath may also help relax tired muscles after a long day and get you into that sleep mindset.
Invest in your bedroom
One thing to consider for optimal sleep hygiene is our bedroom furniture, including bed frames, mattresses and pillows, and whether or not they are helping to create a great night’s sleep.
Generally, people shy away from the idea of having to spend on things like bed frames, mattresses, and sheets, often thinking they’ll last forever. However, studies have shown that purchasing these products at high-quality can help alleviate sleep problems, and using older, worn out mattresses and pillows can aggravate any issues. That is definitely worth spending some coin on
A good bed base that doesn't squeak no matter how you toss and turn is a worthy investment. Pair that with a comfortable mattress with optimal firmness and both dust and mite-proof and you are sure to have a good night's sleep.
Lastly, a pillow designed for comfort and functionality will have you out like a light as soon as your head touches it.
Sleep hygiene also includes keeping a clean and tidy bedroom by frequently washing sheets, vacuuming and dusting the space. Clutter and dirt can leave us feeling unwell or stressed, which are not productive to sleep.
We spend at least 8 hours on our bed on any given day so it shouldn't be surprising to invest in it if it will lead to better sleep.
Set the sleep mood
In order to create healthy sleep habits, you also have to pay close attention to where you rest for the night. Ideally, your bedroom should be clutter free and conducive to rest and relaxation.
For starters, ensure that no bright light is in your direct line of sight as this may interrupt your circadian rhythm. Our eyes are sensitive to light and our brains might translate bright lights as sunlight, therefore keeping us awake longer.
Melatonin, a hormone produced by our brains in response to darkness, is also affected by harsh electronic or natural light and might become sleeping problems in the long run.
As with lights, noise is a problem if you want a good snooze. Loud noises can stimulate our brains and make us more active and sensitive when we should be powering down to sleep. Having earplugs within reach could work, or playing a white noise machine or nature recordings like rain or waves may also do the trick.
Good nights ahead
You can never go wrong by caring about good sleep, and therefore good sleep hygiene. Along with regular exercise and a balanced diet, healthy sleep habits play a major role in ensuring optimal health throughout the day, both mental and physical.
Start building great sleep hygiene habits today.