Do you have a problem sleeping? Then don’t worry you are not alone. No matter what you do or who you are we all need a good quality sleep.
You can achieve comfortable good quality sleep by practicing good Sleep Hygiene.’
By making these small changes you can attain better Sleep Hygiene. This will improve your sleep quality and help you relax. Thus you will also maintain good health. When you have quality sleep you will be energized the next day for better performance at work.
If you ask me what is that one thing that can change your life. Then I will say “having a quality sleep at night.” I have my reasons for this. If you get quality sleep, the next day you will work to your full potential, you will be all positive and inspiring for your co-worker because you will be as fresh as a daisy. That is why practicing better sleep hygiene can also help you in your career.
So, yes having a simply comfortable sleep at night will lead to a healthy, prosperous, and luxurious lifestyle.
What is Sleep Hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is defined as behaviors that one can do to help promote good sleep using behavioral interventions on a day to day activities.
Simply putting buy changing or sometimes adjusting to your daily routine you will be able to achieve the ultimate goal.
These are some of the few small changes which you can introduce to your daily life
1. Follow regular timetable for better Sleep.
Try and fix a timetable, which suits you the best. It has to be in your comfort zone. All you have to do is go to bed at the same time.
This does not necessarily mean going to bed at 9:00 pm every day. It’s not hard and fast that you will have to go to bed at exactly 9:00 pm.
But try to make it within (+/_ 30) minutes of your scheduled time. It is simple to say and hard to do, I know. But still, give it a try. Just do it for – days then it will be a habit. That’s how I did it.
Now if you do that for 21 days. Then slowly you will notice that when the clock struck 8:30 pm, your internal clock is telling you “it’s time to sleep”.
2. Try to avoid in between naps if possible.
Each of us needs to sleep for certain amount of time depending on our age and requirement of rest. But it’s important that we should not overdo it or deprive ourselves of that.
Naps in the daytime decrease our sleep debt. This basically means that it decreases the amount of sleep that we need that night. You might think that is good.
It might sound great but this can actually sleep fragmentation and difficulty initiating sleep, which in many cases can lead to insomnia.
I know you are hardworking, and you get tired. But instead of a nap try meditating for at least 30 minutes. The relaxing experience will be better than a nap and overall results will be much better.
But if you still need a nap, then try taking it for 10 minutes in the early afternoon. This one I call a power nap. But in any case, you will be better off, taking nap in the late evening and for a longer period of time.
3. Avoid skipping sleep.
Have you been in this condition ever in your life? If yes, then don’t forget to tell us about your experiences.
I had personally done this quite a lot of time earlier in my life. The main reason was exam times. I thought if only I can read more throughout the night I will able to retain more.
But that never happens. On the contrary, if you have a good quality sleep before your exam day or important day then you will perform even better.
So, try not to skip sleep. Follow your day-to-day routine and make a timetable.
4. Regular exercise
Exercise is one of the important aspects of life. Remember your school days, those playfields. I mean the time spent on the playfield, not in the school, was the best time in my life. I am sure you will agree with me.
Have you wondered why? Well we used to play around, our bodies will be tired but the mind will be fresh. Now we are all grown up. Most of us have to go to a job sit behind a desk and do our thing. All work no play.
In this daily hustle what we lack is a little bit of play. If you can play like a child, then that would be great. But I know that might not sound great. I tried once or twice, I must say not good experience, i had.
But what can we do, to strain our body and make our mind freshen up?
We can do exercise.
Cardio twice – thrice weekly, power training twice weekly and regular walking or aerobics and cycling for at least 10 minutes, I think will be a good start. So if you are not doing it then it’s never too late to give it a start. But in case you are already in it then do share your experience with us.
Exercising regularly will strain our body. Now when we go to sleep we will be physically tired and fall asleep quickly. But try to avoid exercises just before sleeping.
It is always better to do exercise early in the morning. Morning is the best time but I understand its always not possible. But try and see if you can manage your timetable.
So what do you think, can you take these actions today and start a healthy journey.
I am sure you can. Well now let’s take a look at what your bedroom needs for promoting good sleep hygiene.
5. Light evening meals.
Eating delicious heavy food at too close to bedtime may lead to insomnia. You should finish your dinner several hours before bedtime. This will help you in proper digestion of food.
If in case you get hungry at night, drink warm milk.
If you are lactose intolerance, then try out a mild snack. But avoid any fatty foods.
Bed Room Environment.
You should promote a sleep-friendly environment for your bedroom. Creating environment is very important. Just image, what do you feel when you visit a holy place? You feel peaceful and positive. Now you can also feel that peace in your bedroom. By simply creating a right sleep-inducing environment. Some small and minor changes can actually make a huge difference in your sleep.
6. Optimum Bedroom Temperature to promote Sleep.
Temperature influences your sleep quality, duration, and sleep onset time. If the room temperature is too hot or too cold, then you will struggle to fall asleep.
When we sleep our core body temperature goes down. So when the room temperature is less then this will balance your core body temperature. This will help you fall asleep faster.
There are various studies that show that change in temperature affects your sleep.
You have to depend on your thermostat and air conditioner, to regulate your room temperature.
So that depending on the climate and region you can adjust your room temperature.
You can also try opening windows. But avoid them if you are staying in a place where street noise can disturb you. Also if you open your windows then do not keep your neck close to your windows. A sudden cold breeze can be the reason behind a stiff neck.
7. Bedroom Color that promtes Sleep.
I was less worried about the bedroom color. But I was amazed to find out how this can affect your sleep. I came to know about the relation between bedroom color and sleep by citing these research articles.
Travelodge published a study on their website on 17th May 2013. They mentioned Britons sleeping in a blue-colored bedroom were getting the best night’s sleep.
They even suggested that on average people sleeping in a blue room are getting seven hours and fifty-two minutes sleep per night. Other bedroom décor colors like yellow, green, silver, and orange also helped them sleep.
So, choosing a soothing color for your bedroom can actually promote your sleep
Now, let us
Compare between the Colors best suited for your bed room.
|Non Stimulating Color
|Calm and peaceful
Now there are color and different shades that you should avoid for your bed room.
Colors to avoid for our bed room
- Bright Purple.
- Dark Grey.
8. Bedroom lighting
Now as you can understand the light of the bedroom affects the color. So it’s also important to look what light we use in our bedroom. You should turn off bright lights before going to sleep.
A dark bedroom can promote your sleep. Sometimes some people need some light.
In that case, a dim light is advisable.
I like it dark while sleeping so I don’t have those lights but two other bedrooms have two dim blue lights for that purpose.
9. Sound Dampening.
You might be thinking sound dampening why not soundproofing. Well, the products in the market are called as to give a soundproofing effect. But 100% soundproofing is hard to achieve. It actually depends on the location of your house.
Now if you are located near a heavy traffic place, then it’s advisable to use some soundproofing products. By investing in soundproofing products you will have a quieter environment. This will promote your sleep hygiene.
10. Where to put Bedroom Clock?
Now I am not judging anyone here. It’s ok to have a clock in your bedroom. Some people like it. In fact, there is no problem with having a wall clock or alarm clock in your bedroom.
But the real problem is staring at a clock in your bedroom. This can happen when you are trying to fall asleep or when you wake in the middle of the night.
Looking at the clock can actually increase your stress which in turn will make it harder for you to sleep. making it harder to fall asleep.
So what is the solution?
You can try keeping the clock’s face away from you. If your clock has a fluorescent light for nighttime visualization and if it makes that “Tick-Tock” sound, then I suggest you change it.
But if you are ok with the sound and it is not causing any problems for you then it is ok.
Well, I am sure these won’t be difficult for you to follow. If you are already using one or the other, then do share your experience.
11. Bed Room Aroma.
Aroma affects your mood and sleep. Studies have been conducted to find out the effect of aromatherapy on sleep. Especially lavender oil. According to one research Lavender has some sedative effects.
They had exposed some people to lavender aroma before they go to sleep. Their results suggest that it has helped them to sleep faster than other people in that research.
You can use any herbal oil. But if you have lavender that will be great. Thus aromatherapy can improve your sleep hygiene and make you fall asleep quickly.
Sleep Enhancing Products.
This is products which will help you sleep comfortably. They will ensure that your sleep hygiene is properly maintained. They can even help you fall asleep faster.
Interesting they are not a luxury but are necessities. Choosing a wrong product can ruin your sleep.
12. Pillow for your own comfort.
Pillow is a product that should be purchased carefully. It will be your sleeping mate. It will support your head and neck region throughout the night while you sleep.
How many pillows you need and what kind of pillow you need varies, from person to person.
Pillow selection also depends on what position you sleep in. Now we are all humans. So we change our positions at night. But most commonly people tend to sleep inside sleeping positions. You should choose a pillow depending on your sleeping position.
13. A mattress that suits you.
A mattress can make a great difference between comfortable sleep and a nightmare. So carefully choose a mattress that suits you and your partner.
Look for Indentation Force Deflection(IFD/ILD) a parameter to determine a memory foam mattress. Check the cut off weight, motion transfer this is the common parameters you have to check to find out a suitable memory foam mattress.
If you are for an innerspring mattress, then look for what type of spring the company is using. In any case, if you are buying a mattress online then RETURN policy is a must. All the best for your mattress shopping. I wish you have found the mattress of your choice.
Now let’s have a look what we can do in our pre sleeping time. We will look at first to do things and then things that we should avoid before sleeping.
Best Practices to Do before sleeping.
14. Thermostat Adjustment.
The first step in doing that is to adjust your thermostat accordingly. Start with a little cooler, then a little warmer, keep it that way.
But, of course, do what suits you the best. Your optimum temperature can be different from others so adjust the thermostat accordingly.
15. Avoid Pet Distractions.
I know you love your pet. But if your pet is the reason for disturbances in your sleep, then I think it’s better to keep them outside your bedroom.
Especially, if you have allergies. Sleeping with pets in case you have allergies will aggravate your condition. This can be the result of sleep interruption.
So, avoid pets. Instead, arrange a separate place for them to sleep. Make it as comfortable as your bed. But keep them outside your room.
If you feel lonely then buy a teddy bear and hug it while you sleep.
16. Turn off TV, Notepad etc.
Smartphones and notepad have become an integral part of our life. They are not luxuries anymore they have become necessities.
You will agree with me if I say the actual reason is connectivity. Through the internet, we can stay connected all the time.
But is it necessary to stay connected 24/7?
What would you think, if I tell you that before sleeping just stay connected to yourself only? This is the moment to care for you. Keep this moment reserved for you and let nobody disturb you at that particular moment.
Give it a try, I am sure you will like it. Of course, in case of emergencies, we cannot help it. But in most of the time if you turn off TV, notepad and keep your mobile smartphone away, then you will be promoting your sleep Hygiene.
17. Warm Shower.
Try taking a warm shower before going to bed. This will help in sleep promotion. Avoid taking a hot shower.
To read more on this topic you can read our article on shower and sleep.
Keeping our minds calm is very important. Before sleeping, there will be many thoughts that will come to our minds. These thoughts will disturb our sleep. In order to tame them, you should practice meditation.
Meditation is not a complicated thing. You just have to detach yourself from the outside world and concentrate.
There is one easy way to do it. Practice breathing technique “Pranayama”.
Pranayama is the different type of breathing. You just have to slowly breathe in for 6 minutes, then hold it for another 6 minutes and then breath out for 6 minutes.
Close your eyes while you perform Pranayama and keep your spine in an erect position.
Repeat this until you fall asleep. This will help you concentrate on your breathing and your mind will be detached from the outside world. Resulting in a peace and calm feeling devoid of negative thoughts.
Of course, there are various other methods of Pranayama which are popular. Do what you know. It’s important to practice it. If you don’t know any other technique, then start with this technique.
Meditation and breathing techniques will definitely improve your Sleep Hygiene
Things to Avoid before Sleeping.
19. Avoid Exercise before going to sleep.
The best time to do exercise is in the morning. Avoid exercise before going to sleep. If you want to do stretching, then that is ok. For that, you can do yoga.
20. Avoid Racing thoughts.
Now it’s a good practice to recollect and plan. But do it before you go down to sleep. Let this be your last activity of the day. After this, a 5 minutes meditation then go to bed.
21. Avoid cigarette smoking.
Some people think that smoking before going to bed helps. But that is not true. Smoking has a higher association with insomnia patients. If you are a smoker, then quitting is the best thing you can do.
Take this as a reason and take the right action by quitting.
So, quit smoking or at least avoid smoking before bedtime and maintain proper sleep hygiene. This will help you in falling asleep faster and have a quality comfortable sleep.
22. Avoid heavy meals.
Try and avoid heavy meals before going to bed. Complete your dinner on time. This way you will have a good sleep and also a healthy stomach.
23. Avoid Alcohol.
Avoiding alcohol consumption before sleep will promote your sleep. In any case, when we talk about alcohol you will agree, moderation is the key, right.
Though alcohol can make you feel drowsy but too much too close to bedtime can disrupt sleep.
Sometimes you might wake up early due to the effects of alcohol and spend the rest of the day with a headache “hangover”.
You can do without it, so avoid taking alcohol too close to bedtime to maintain good sleep hygiene.
24. Avoid caffeine intake.
Caffeine is an energy booster. Beverages that contain caffeine should be avoided before sleep. Consuming caffeine will ruin your efforts of developing your sleep hygiene.
25. Avoid emotional upsetting conversations.
Upsetting conversations will make you sad. This will keep your mind busy throughout the night and it will be hard for you to sleep.
26. Avoid drinking too much water.
Drinking water is good. But adequate balance is required. Keeping yourself hydrated will help you in conditions like nasal congestion, acid reflux. But the quantity should be monitored.
If you drink too much water than required, you will end up somewhere else than your bed. If you drink tea or hot milk or any other liquid, then you should balance the quantity of water consumption.
Some tricky situations.
There can be some possible occasion when you cannot sleep even if you are sleepy. Or sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night and cannot fall back to sleep quickly. Here are some of the tips.
27. Try reading a book, not an interesting thriller storybook. But try any textbook from any subject. This can act as a sleeping pill. As soon as you feel sleepy reading, close the book and back to bed.
28. Listen to mild soothing music. Avoid hearing rock or dancing songs. If not, you might end up dancing.
I am sure these small changes can be easily adjusted to your daily routine. Don’t forget to do a follow-up. Keep a sleep diary, that can help.
Sometimes it’s hard to fall asleep. Making these small changes in your day-to-day activity can help you improve your sleep hygiene.
If you get a good quality sleep at night, then you will be more efficient the next day.
Slowly and steadily you will be edging close to a healthy and luxurious lifestyle, by simply having a comfortable and night of good quality sleep.
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