Getting enough sleep is as important as other vital elements for good health, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and practicing good dental hygiene. In short, sleeping is not a luxury but an essential component of a healthy lifestyle.
Scientific studies have linked long-term sleep deficits with significant health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, dementia, obesity, high blood pressure, mental illness, viral infections, and many others.
I summarized some recommendations to improve your sleep. I hope that these good habits are known as “sleep hygiene” to help you, as they represent scientific thinking about maintaining healthy sleep patterns.
Some natural supplements help promote healthy sleep. Check out Dr. Gala Coach’s recommendations here.
Create a sleeping sanctuary
Take your time to address the problems that affect what you hear, see, and feel while in bed. A sleeping room can make it easier to fall asleep and fall asleep. Here are some design tips:
- noise control
Here are some ways to reduce or disguise noise that can interfere with sleep:
o Decorate with heavy curtains and carpets, which absorb the sounds.
o Install double-pane windows.
o Wear earplugs.
o Use a fan or a sleeping machine, which provides “white noise” or a recording of soothing sounds, such as falling rain, croaking frogs, or screeching screams.
- Dim the bright light
Bright light at night can affect your body’s regular melatonin production schedule, and that will make sleep difficult. Keep your light consumption before bed with these steps:
- Avoid watching TV or using a computer after 9 p.m.
- Do not read from a backlit electronic device (such as an iPad) at night. (See also “Blue light detection: help?” Below.)
- Replace bright lights with lower power bulbs or install dimmer switches that allow you to keep the lights low at night.
Bright bathroom lights can be a problem, primarily since most people use the bathroom just before retiring (and often in the middle of the night). But you don’t want to trip if you can’t see it. If safe to do so, consider using night lights to illuminate the path to, and inside your bathroom.
- Stay comfortable
If it is too hot or too cold in the room, this can interfere with sleep. Most people sleep better in a slightly cool room (around 65 ° F). Replace your mattress and pillows if they are worn or uncomfortable.
If your aching joints keep you awake, ask your doctor about pain relievers, or manage your pain naturally with your coach. Some people say they feel more comfortable sleeping on “viscoelastic foam” mattresses and pillows (for example, Tempur-Pedic).
Consult Dr. Gala Coach or your chiropractor for advice on sleeping positions if you have specific joint pain.
Try relaxation rituals
Worrying about a problem or a long list of pending tasks can be a recipe for insomnia. Well, before delivering, try to write your worries and make a list of jobs you want to remember. This “worry journal” can help move these distracting thoughts from your mind.
Near bedtime, try comforting rituals that can help you sleep:
- Listen to soft and relaxing music.
- Take a warm bath.
- Do some easy stretching.
- Read a book or magazine in low light.
Set a schedule
A regular sleep schedule keeps the circadian sleep/wake cycle synchronized. People with more regular sleep habits report the least amount of insomnia problems and the least depression. Experts advise getting up at about the same time every day, even after a night party or a restful sleep.
Limit the time you spend in bed. If you don’t sleep within 20 to 30 minutes or if you wake up and can’t go back to sleep within that period, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you’re sleepy again. Regardless of how well (or poorly), you have slept, get out of bed at the usual time each morning to keep your circadian cycle in sync.
- Negotiate naps, if necessary
If your goal is to sleep more at night, taking a nap is a bad idea. Your total need for daily sleep remains constant, so naps take away your nighttime sleep. But if your goal is to be more alert during the day, a break integrated into your daily schedule may be just what you need. If you have insomnia and feel anxious about getting enough sleep, a short and scheduled nap can help you sleep better at night, relieving that anxiety.
If possible, take a nap shortly after lunch. People who sleep later in the afternoon tend to fall asleep more deeply, which causes more disruption at night. An ideal nap lasts no more than 30 to 40 minutes, and even a 15 to 20-minute nap has significant alert benefits.
Shorten or eliminate naps that produce persistent stunning.
- Keep a dream diary
A sleep diary can help you discover clues about what is disturbing your sleep. For example, you may realize that certain habits (such as what you eat or drink or when you exercise) are affecting your rest.
Curve the caffeine
Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, soda, and other beverages (see Table 3, above), keeps you awake by blocking adenosine, a brain chemical that helps you fall asleep. For some people, a single cup of coffee in the morning means a sleepless night. Caffeine can also interrupt sleep by increasing the need to get up to urinate at night.
Reduce alcohol (Nix nightcaps)
Alcohol depresses the nervous system, so excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages makes some people fall asleep faster. But sleep is not necessarily useful in those conditions. Alcohol suppresses the REM sleep, and the hypnotic effects disappear after a few hours. Drinkers have frequent awakenings and sometimes frightening dreams. Drinking is responsible for up to 10% of cases of chronic insomnia. Also, because alcohol relaxes the throat muscles and interferes with brain control mechanisms, it can make snoring and other nighttime breathing problems worse, sometimes dangerously.
Energize with exercise (but not at night)
Walking, jogging, swimming, or any activity that allows you to have a faster heartbeat provides three significant sleeping benefits:
- you fall asleep faster,
- you spend more time sleeping soundly
- and you wake up less frequently during the night.
Exercise seems to be of particular benefit for the elderly.
See when and what you eat and drink
A complaining stomach can distract you enough to keep you awake, so if you’re hungry just before bedtime, eat a small healthy snack, such as an apple with a slice of cheese or some whole wheat crackers to satisfy you until breakfast.
But a belly that is too full maybe even more disturbing. Avoid eating a large meal within two to three hours before bedtime. And stay away from foods that contribute to acid reflux (heartburn), since lying down can cause or worsen the problem. Common culprits include coffee, chocolate, alcohol, mint, and fatty foods.
If you are prone to acid reflux, elevate the upper part of your body with a wedge under the mattress or blocks placed under the legs of the bed. Check with Dr. Gala Coach for supplements that suppress stomach acid secretion can also help.
Finally, if you sleep on your right side, try sleeping on your left hand, as several studies suggest that sleeping on your right side aggravates heartburn.