How Is Poor Sleep Hygiene Affecting Your Body?
Do you have a set of daily rituals that you do before getting to bed? Do you wash your hands and face, brush your teeth or take a bath? Or is it watching an episode or scrolling social media feeds before sleeping? Whether you have poor sleep hygiene or a good one, it impacts your sleep directly. These rituals determine if you’ll get a good quality sleep or a disrupted sleep that leaves you feeling lethargic.
Getting healthy sleep at night is crucial for both mental as well as your physical health. It can improve your productivity, lifestyle and lead to efficiency in anything you do. On the other hand, lack of sleep may lead to a bad immune system and a 50% decrease in natural killer cell activity. This action might put you in danger of short-term periodic infections and chronic diseases in the long run.
Why you need to change your poor sleep hygiene?
Good sleep hygiene includes setting up a daily schedule or bedtime routine to ensure you are getting healthy sleep. A sound sleep keeps you more focused and energetic during the day, as sleep deprivation can affect your work performance. Good sleep hygiene is essential because it ensures that you are having a higher quality and restful sleep at night. Similarly, bad sleep hygiene may lead to poor sleep or unhealthy sleep that can cause several health-related problems like weight gain, stress, hypertension, heart diseases, etc.
Maintaining good sleep hygiene isn’t very difficult. Here’s how you can improve your sleep hygiene:
- Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night - Sleep needs can be different for different people based on their daily schedule and activities. Throughout our lives, our sleep needs fluctuate, but research shows that a 7-8 hours of sleep every night is important to maintain good health. So, you need to keep a check on your sleeping hours and ensure you’re getting sufficient sleep. You can start by creating a sleep schedule or setting a reminder of at least an hour before you’re supposed to start winding down for the day.
- Avoiding spicy food, alcohol, and caffeine around bedtime- Have you ever tried to fall asleep straight after eating a big bowl of pasta or drinking caffeinated beverages? It’s difficult. They not only affect the quality of your sleep but also your physical health. To ensure healthy and restful sleep, just try not to take spicy or heavy meals around bedtime, but three hours prior to it. Also, try not to take tea or coffee after 7 in the evening. While alcoholic drinks might help you relax and fall asleep in the short-term, they are considered a very poor sleep aid which can cause many health problems if taken regularly.
- Avoiding stressful situations before bedtime- This is one of the most simple steps, but only some people can follow this. If you are tense about the next day, about completing the laundry, ironing or stacking the dishwasher, making lunch or so on, chances are you’ll find it difficult to switch off straight away when you climb into bed. Start avoiding these above activities before sleep. Create your timetable for tasks and maintain good sleep hygiene. It just takes half an hour to read a book, take a bath, or reduce the ambient light and light a candle and relax. Reducing the ambient light will trigger the production of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.
- Making a daily exercise schedule to promote quality sleep- Quality sleep plays a vital role in overall health and well being. It begins with proper sleep hygiene and exercising schedule. At least 10-15 minutes of physical exercise such as walking, cycling, etc. can drastically improve quality sleep at night.
- Establishing a regular and pleasant sleep environment- Make sure that the mattress on your bed is comfortable. The room temperature must be ideal for optimal sleep. Keep away all screen lights, avoid using tablets or other gadgets. Try and make your bedroom more relaxing and dark for an optimal sleep.
A sound sleep plays an essential role in everyone’s life. It begins with proper sleep hygiene and leads to a much healthier life. By implementing these simple steps, you’ll see the difference and feel much more energetic and have a positive outlook towards life. If you still face difficulties while sleeping or feel that you might have a sleep disorder, you can start by taking this free sleep assessment quiz and get a thorough diagnosis.