What Is Sleep Hygiene?
Sleep hygiene refers to our lifestyle practices and general behavior that determines the quality of our sleep. The term sleep hygiene may sound a bit odd to you, believe me it initially raised my eyebrows too, but since “hygiene” really entails a summation of the activities we subscribe to in a bid to preserve our health then the idea is not too far fetched. So what then is your sleep hygiene? What are some of the the things that you routinely do before going to bed? Do you have specific times when you wake up or go to bed? These are important factors that can determine whether you snooze in bliss or you stay wide awake in the wee hours of the morning. You are probably thinking, well I have never really thought of that before, I simply go to bed whenever I feel sleepy.
What then constitutes good sleep hygiene?
- Establishing a set time for bedtime and when you get up seven days a week.
- Never sleep during the day if you are struggling with sleeplessness.
- Have a consistent exercise regime.
- Be sure to do your exercises at least five to six hours before you retire (preferably early mornings).
- Eat light meals before bed and do not consume snacks at nights.
- Eliminate caffeine, sodas and dark chocolate from your diet.
- Reserve your bed for sleeping and avoid mentally stimulating activities once there.
- Your bedroom should be conducive to sleep.
- Get enough sunlight
- Ensure that you are in a good frame of mind before climbing into bed.
- Make note of your lifestyle and sleep pattern in your sleep diary so that you can determine what is affecting your sleep pattern.
You will be more likely to witness changes if you implement all of the following but be mindful that this a gradual process and you will see changes over time.
The Drawbacks of Sleep Hygiene
One of the problems with sleep hygiene is that it gives you a list of things to do but it does not really systematically take you through the process of getting them done. For example it recommends that you achieve a good frame of mind before climbing under the covers but it falls short of telling you how to achieve that.
Secondly, behavior really speaks to a collection of habits that you would have cultivated over time and so it may require a significant amount of time to change how you do things. Most people will not follow through if they see no tangible improvements within weeks. Lastly, you can implement all of the measures and still suffer from insomnia because the causes can be quite diverse. Your insomnia could be as a result of sleep anxiety,over stimulation of the nervous system, habitual worrying or a range of other things.
Therefore adherence to sleep hygiene may not be a comprehensive solution for insomnia but it is a good place to begin and you will beat it if you always remain positive because insomnia can be cured and that gives a ray of hope.
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