5 Simple Ways To Improve Sleep Hygiene

by | Jan 3, 2020 | Sleep | 0 comments

5 SIMPLE WAYS TO IMPROVE SLEEP HYGIENE

Improve Sleep Hygiene

Have You ever been sleepy in Your job or school? Do You regularly use electronic devices before sleeping?

Do You sleep less in workdays and much more in holidays? Do You feel less energized? Want to improve your sleep hygiene?

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Have You ever felt like this lovely koala bear in an inappropriate place or situation? If “Yes“, read further information we prepared exactly for You to feel more energized in Your day!

By the way, koala sleeps an average 14.5 hours a day, in contrast to an elephant 4 hours a day.

But the biggest sleeper from animals is the lion, lion sleeps 20 hours a day.

Which one is like you? The right answer should be – none of them.

There are special sleep time duration recommendations for different age groups that The National Sleep Foundation has made – information you can find in our previous article HERE.

But as we have already written in our previous article:

Enough sleep is not enough!

And did you know?

People are the only one of mammals who are deliberately delaying sleep

What Is Sleep Hygiene?

Sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness. 

Getting healthy sleep is important for both physical and mental health. It can also improve productivity and overall quality of life. 

Factors that affect sleep:

  • Environment
  • Eating
  • Physical activities
  • Alchocol, tabacco, coffeine, medicaments
  • Stress
  • Pre-sleep time activities

Signs of poor sleep hygiene:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Frequent sleep disturbances
  • Too long period of time to fall asleep

If You have at least one of these signs, You should consider evaluating Your sleep routine and revising your bedtime habits. 

How can You advance Your sleep hygiene?

There are things You should do and things You should not do before sleep and in Your bed. In addition it is important to remember all Your day activities – also something You do in the middle of Your day can affect Your sleep in night, for example, very stressful day might negatively impress Your sleep.

Even something becoming next day might be the reason for bad sleep quality, for example, an exam or important meeting next day You are thinking about before sleep. 

Things You should do:

1. Make a pleasant sleep environment

  • First of all it is very important to have Your own bedroom if it is possible.
  • Next one is to make sure that the optimal temperature in bedroom range between 60-67 degrees (it is good to use also humidifier for breathing better air).
  • Mattress and pillows should be comfortable.
  • In addition remember that bright light from lamps, cell phone and TV screens can make it difficult to fall asleep, so turn off  all the lights and devices.
  • Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, and other devices that can make the bedroom more relaxing.
  • If You have a loud partner in Your bedroom, consider to use ear plugs.
  • And do not forget to set up also Your child bedroom appropriate.
  • And try to avoid unpleasant or stressful conversations before bedtime. 

2. Limit Your daytime naps to 20-30 minutes.

Although a quick nap of 20 minutes can improve mood and performance, napping does not make up for inadequate nighttime sleep.

3. Ensuring adequate exposure to natural light. 

This is particularly important for individuals who may not venture outside frequently.

Exposure to sunlight during the day, as well as darkness at night, helps to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.

4. Establishing a regular bedtime routine. 

 A regular nightly routine helps the body recognize that it is bedtime.

This could include taking a warm shower or bath, reading a book, or light stretches. 

5. Exercising to promote good quality sleep. 

As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as walking or cycling, can drastically improve nighttime sleep quality. 

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Things You should not do:

1. Do not use any stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime. 

And for alcohol, moderation is key.

We well know alcohol to help you fall asleep faster, too much close to bedtime can disrupt sleep in the second half of the night as the body processes the alcohol.

Remember that also green tea contains caffeine.

2. It is not a good idea to make a strenuous workout close to bedtime.

However, the effect of intense nighttime exercise on sleep differs from person to person. So find out what works best for you. We recommend not to do high-intensity workouts or sports (such as basketball, football, resistance training) at least 3-4 hours before bedtime.

3. Do not eat too heavy or rich foods

– fatty or fried meals, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks can trigger indigestion for some people.

When this occurs close to bedtime, it can lead to painful heartburn that disrupts sleep.

That kind of eating habits can provoke gastroesophageal reflux disease. (GORD) – read more about the diet recommendations for avoiding this one in our page in section about NUTRITION.

4. Do not use a bed for other activities, except sleeping!

Do not use your bed as a work-place.

It includes also do not using any electronic devices while you are in bed, for example, checking Instagram or Twitter before nighttime or watching movies on PC or TV.

There is only one more thing You can and even should do for living healthy in Your bed – suppose You understand what I mean.

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If You are not sure about Your daytime sleepiness..

There is one test made by Dr. Murray Johns called Epworth Sleepiness Scale that you can try!

Epworth Sleepiness Scale

The ESS is a self-administered questionnaire with 8 questions.

Respondents are asked to rate, on a 4-point scale (0-3), their usual chances of dozing off or falling asleep while engaged in eight different activities.

Most people engage in those activities at least occasionally, although not necessarily every day.

The ESS score (the sum of 8 item scores, 0-3) can range from 0 to 24. The higher the ESS score, the higher that person’s average sleep propensity in daily life (ASP), or their daytime sleepiness.

The questionnaire takes no more than 2 or 3 minutes to answer

The ESS asks the respondent to rate on a 4-point scale (0-3) their usual chances of having dozed off or fallen asleep while engaged in eight different activities that differ widely in their somnifacient.

 The word sleepiness has more than one meaning. Traditionally it means drowsiness, the intermediate state between alert wakefulness and sleep.

However, in sleep medicine it has also come to mean sleep propensity—the probability, ease or speed of making the transition from alert wakefulness, through drowsiness, to sleep under a given set of circumstances.

It is this latter meaning of the word sleepiness, as sleep propensity, that the ESS relates to.

The online form of Epworth Sleepiness Scale test is available HERE

If You are a health professional or just want to know more about Epworth Sleepiness Scale go HERE

Remember!

If You do not have any complaints about Your sleep quality or day sleepiness, it is just interesting to make sure You are doing the sleep habits right. Take or try something new for living healthier and more relaxed.

If you have serious complaints, furthermore the ESS test shows too top results, we advise You to talk with Your family doctor about Your problems and hope You will find the right resolution!

If You have some more questions, please feel free to contact us! 

Thank You very much for reading the article!

Good night and sweet dreams!

Sleep hygiene checklist

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