What Is Sleep Hygiene & How to Improve it

Having a poor quality sleep the night before is something that will affect your day in more ways than you realize. Without enough sleep, you can be expected to feel more sluggish, find it difficult to concentrate and perform more poorly at your daily activities. Lack of sleep can also affect your mental and physical health, leading to chronic stress, high blood pressure, and obesity. So what can we do to ensure this doesn’t happen? Often, it is easier said than done to get a quality night’s sleep, so if you find yourself struggling to get out of bed in the morning, read on. We have put together three reasons why you may not be having best sleep hygiene, and how you can change this!

What is Sleep Hygiene?

According to the Sleep Foundation, “Sleep Hygiene is a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness.”

Why is it important to practice good sleep hygiene?

Obtaining and maintaining healthy sleep is important for both physical and mental health. It can also improve productivity and overall quality of life. Everyone, from children to older adults, can benefit from practicing good sleep habits.

“How does getting enough sleep help you make better decisions for Amazon shareholders?
Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon): Mostly, as any of us go through our lives, we don’t need to maximize the number of decisions we make per day. Making a small number of key decisions well is more important than making a large number of decisions. If you shortchange your sleep, you might get a couple of extra “productive” hours, but that productivity might be an illusion. When you’re talking about decisions and interactions, quality is usually more important than quantity.”–– the source

Three Bad Sleep Hygiene Habits to Avoid as soon as Possible

Technology After Ten

Many of us are guilty of watching TV before we go to sleep or browsing social media on our phones in bed. But just how detrimental is this to our sleep and overall health?

The blaring screens emit blue lights which keep our brains awake, making it much harder to switch off and fall asleep once we finally put them down. So a good rule to follow would be ‘no technology after ten’.

Putting our phones away and turning TVs off before 10 pm means our brains have time to switch off and get into ‘sleep mode’, making it much easier to fall asleep, and stay asleep! Check out these three ways that gadgets in your bedroom are keeping you awake.  

Mouth Breathing

Now, you may not even realize you’re doing it, but mouth breathing while you’re asleep can affect the quality of sleep you have and your oral hygiene.

Nose breathing has huge benefits in comparison, as breathing through your nose warms and filters the air we breathe. It takes time to train yourself to stop mouth breathing. However, there is a way you can easily do it: Mouth taping. Okay, this sounds scary, but trust me, you need to try it out. It involves putting a small, non-painful strip of tape over your mouth before you sleep, training your body to breathe naturally through the nose.

Mouth taping is gaining momentum, with many people raving about its benefits. Users have found that they are no longer waking up during the night, and instead can sleep the full night through. It can improve your health on top of this, reducing stress and improving oral hygiene.

Nightmares and Night Terrors

If you are a frequent sufferer of nightmares, you will understand just how terrifying they can be. These don’t just affect kids! They can often affect your sleep by waking you up suddenly and then making it difficult to go back to sleep. There are many reasons why a person may be affected. The most common include stress, anxiety, and irregular sleep patterns (such as working night shifts).

Some studies suggest that alcohol may also affect dreams. Although it can be difficult to manage them, performing meditation before bed can help by reducing stress and calming the mind.

Try to avoid bringing work home with you, as this will reduce stress-induced nightmares. If you work night shifts, try to get as much sleep as you can the day before, as overtiredness can trigger erratic dreams and nightmares. Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed too – try swapping them for a flavored tea such as chamomile.

By changing these three bad sleep hygiene habits, you will soon see the difference in your sleep, and how you perform the next day. Give them a try and see if they work for you!

photo source: pexels + giphy 

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