Do you notice yourself staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night and still find it difficult to fall asleep? Or have you ever woken up in the middle of the night, thinking its wake-up time, only to find out that it’s just 3 a.m.? If that’s you, then know you are not alone. However, if deep sleep is something you direly need, it might just be the time to consider checking your sleep hygiene habits and how poor habits are ruining your good night’s sleep.
Health Shots reached out to Dr Shankar S. Biradar, MBBS, Medical Director, Magniflex India, Bengaluru, to understand some sleep hygiene habits to improve sleep quality.
What is sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is a total of healthy sleep habits. Maintaining good sleep hygiene is crucial because getting quality sleep at night affects your mental, physical and emotional well-being. It includes the behaviours you perform during the entire day- not just the ones you do before bed. It also encompasses your eating habits, evening routine, schedule, and many other activities that play an important role in helping you sleep better at night.
Sleep hygiene habits to improve the quality of your sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential to our everyday routine for overall well-being and productivity. Nonetheless, many individuals face challenges related to sleep that harm their well-being and lifestyle. The good news is that by adopting a few simple sleep hygiene habits, you can significantly improve the quality of your sleep. These include:
1. Invest in a superior quality mattress
“This is one of the most crucial aspects of sleep. Many people settle for a cheap mattress with substandard quality and non-certified, locally-made raw materials. Ordinary memory foam, cotton and spring mattresses are prone to attracting allergens like dust mites and mould. Ensures your mattress breathes well, keeps possible allergens at bay, and stays hygienic for years,” suggests the expert.
2. Keep colourful mattresses away
Colourful mattresses use toxic and harmful colours. Choose mattresses that have no dyes in them. Mattress dyes can hinder your sleep by restricting your breathing and, in some cases, may lead to respiratory issues.
3. Maintain a regular sleep routine
The expert says, “This is a critical component of good sleep hygiene. It is recommended that you try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This regularity helps regulate your body’s internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up feeling rejuvenated.”
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4. Establish a cosy sleep setting
The quality of your sleep can be significantly affected by your surrounding sleep environment. Ensure your bedroom is conducive to rest by keeping it dark, quiet and calm. Invest in the right mattress and pillows, and remove any distractions such as electronics or noisy appliances.
5. Watch your diet and hydration
“What you eat and drink can impact your sleep. To prevent disturbances to your sleep patterns, it’s advisable to avoid consuming heavy meals, caffeine, or alcohol close to bedtime. Instead, if you feel hungry before bed, opt for a light and nutritious snack, and stay hydrated during the day while cutting back on liquids in the evening to minimise nighttime awakenings,” reckons the expert.
6. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine
A calming bedtime routine signals your body that it is time to unwind. Engage in calming activities such as gentle stretching, breathing exercises, or meditation to promote relaxation before sleep. These rituals can help reduce stress and anxiety, making it easier to fall asleep.
7. Include physical activity into your daily routine
Studies have demonstrated that regular physical activity can enhance the quality of your sleep. However, it is important to schedule your workouts appropriately. Doing physical activity just before bedtime can have a stimulating impact. So, it is best to complete your exercise routine at least a few hours before bedtime. For relaxation in the evening, consider gentle activities like yoga.
Incorporating these sleep hygiene habits into your daily routine can make a remarkable difference in the quality of your sleep. Remember that improving your sleep patterns may take time, so be patient and persistent. By prioritising good sleep hygiene, you can enjoy more restful nights and wake up each morning feeling rejuvenated and ready to face the day ahead.