Lifestyle Edits: Sleep Hygiene

Importance of sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene is a behavioral practice of setting up and observing a proper sleep routine. It comprises a set of rituals implemented to get good sleep at night. Sleep hygiene has been an effective approach in treating people with mild to moderate insomnia.

Good sleep hygiene includes the following practices;

· A regular sleep schedule

· Short power naps

· Avoiding strenuous (physical and mental) exercises at night

· Reducing light exposure before sleeping

· Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine before bedtime

· Creating a comfortable sleep environment

· Using earplugs and eye covers (conditional)

Why is sleep hygiene important?

Sleep hygiene is as important as personal hygiene. It ensures that you're getting an adequate amount of sleep. Just like a healthy diet and exercise, sleep is also a vital component of your overall health and wellbeing. It not only impacts your physical but mental health as well. Getting enough sleep is linked with enhanced focus, concentration, and cognitivism. A person with a good sleep schedule is reportedly said to be more active and productive. Research evidences show that students who sleep enough are more likely to perform better at school or college, as compared to those who don’t.

Sleep is the time when your mind and body replenishes cells, restores energy, and rebuilds tissues. If you don’t sleep well, your body starts draining energy. It cannot carry out vital corporal functions. Moreover, a sleep-deprived individual is at a greater risk of developing certain health conditions including;

1. Cardiovascular diseases

2. Stroke

3. Diabetes

4. Cancer

5. Alzheimer’s

6. Depressive mood

7. Anxiety

8. Depression

Maintaining healthy sleep hygiene is necessary for acquiring enough sleep. Thus, it is a crucial practice for healthy living.

How to assess sleep hygiene?

Assessing sleep hygiene helps to determine if your sleep cycle is healthy enough or not. Sleep hygiene can be assessed using the following measures;

· Sleep Hygiene Index

· Sleep Hygiene Awareness and Practice Scale

· Sleep Hygiene Self-Test

· Adolescent Sleep Hygiene Scale

· Children's Sleep Hygiene Scale

Practicing good sleep hygiene

Maintaining healthy sleep hygiene isn't super difficult. It requires simple, everyday practices to fix your lifestyle (a bit of mindfulness). The practice begins in the morning; you must wake up early, go for a walk, and have your breakfast. If you’ll wake up early, there are chances that you would sleep early as well.

Try to take an afternoon nap, if possible. This could be a great habit if your work schedule allows. Power naps are usually short, like 30-45 minutes long. They help you to get rid of all the work-related stress and began working once again. Note, if you feel like power naps disturb your night sleep, you can simply cut out on them.

The most crucial is the evening time. It requires special care to ensure sound sleep. You must not think about anything stressing like work, money, etc. Try to read a good book or write a diary about how the day went. Don't eat anything heavy and relax before going to bed. Try to reduce the light exposure of your room and minimize screen exposure before bed. If nothing is working, take a warm bath, meditate, set up a morning alarm, and sleep peacefully.

Once you will start practicing this routine, your circadian cycle would be set accordingly. It will trigger your brain and you’ll automatically be feeling sleeping at night and wake up early!


Guest Author: Dr. Zafar, Medical & Health Writer

& Steph Powers, MSc, LCDC

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