Sleep hygiene

Creating the right environment for sleep

If you have difficulty sleeping and went to your doctor with your complaint, the first thing he or she would probably inquire about and attempt to fix is your sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is all about how you approach your bedtime and the habits and preferences in terms of your practices that you follow during the awake period leading to your usual bedtime.

There are somethings we do while awake that we know for sure can impact sleep. For instance, having a large cup of coffee just before turning in is a sure formula for a sleepless night for most individuals. But other sleep hygiene recommendations lack intuitive appeal. Indeed, some widely practices sleep hygiene behaviors may not even have the intended effects.

Since sleep hygiene is probably the easiest way to achieve a good night’s sleep, it should also be the first step for someone who commonly finds sleep difficult.

You can start by following some of the steps as mentioned below,

Sleep time regularity– The entraining effects of the environment on sleep mean that for most individuals, their circadian rhythm has settled into a pattern that matches their entraining environment. For example, who regularly sleep late, say nightclub bouncers, their endogenous rhythm will adjust to approximate their lifestyle. This also means that any sudden change to the lifestyle can adversely affect sleep. Hence the recommendation is that it is best to establish a regular pattern of sleep and stick to it. This also means maintaining similar sleep wake times during the working weekday and weekend.

Shutting out external disturbances– Such a slight and noise, both can disturb sleep in a manner that may not be apparent to the sleeper since the disturbance may not result in overt wakening but can interfere with the maintenance of deep sleep

Room temperature– A cooler room temperature, is desirable to aid sleep since it will assist the body in its natural tendency to reduce body temperature during sleep

Loose clothing– In some traditional cultures it is customary to sleep naked or with a very few clothes on. Although this may be a function of the ambient temperature, it is also true that comfortable and loose-fitting clothes will allow for better quality sleep compared to tight or constructing garments

Mattress– The surface on which we can sleep can play a significant role in the quality of sleep. However, the relationship between the type of mattress and quality of sleep is idiosyncratic with a wide variation in preferences that may also be influenced by the presence or absence of significant back problems. In general, different individuals have slightly different preferences that may also indicate what they are accustomed to rather than a hard and fast rule as to what surface aids good sleep. If you have an old mattress or have any other reason to change your mattress such as a sore back in the morning, then please go ahead and shop for one. You may want to test the mattress for at least a one-week period before deciding if it is the best one for you.


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