Well, it goes to show that we spend most of our lives sleeping. The problem is that not all of us are getting the good restful sleep we really should be getting. I was asked to do a presentation about what sleep hygiene in one of my rotations, little did I know this was a real thing. I also thought, do people know what this is and how beneficial it can be to their lives?!? Basically sleep hygiene is another way of saying good sleep habits.
the following photos taken on iPhone 3 (can you tell the low quality?) are from my first year on instagram and in medical school on the island #SVG #medlife
Experts have shown that a good sleep hygiene can improve sleeping and provide long-term solution to sleep difficulties, and although there are some medications in the market to help with sleeping problems, these can be useful but for short term.
Why is sleep so important?
This is the time in our day that allows the body to repair anything that was damaged during the day, like did you know that most of the cycle in the beginning of the night is spent on physical repair. Then towards the end of the night, associated with active dream states; is spent in psychological repair.
Why is 8 hours so crucial? The reason for this, is because this allows 5 opportunities to repair both physical and psychological systems. How? An average adult cycles every 90 minutes, well do the math, in 8 hours that is about 5 of these opportunities to repair!
So here goes, a few of the things you should be doing to help you fall asleep and hopefully get a good rest. When it comes to sleeping, Tita (my female cat, you'll get to know all my pets in due time) really knows how it's done.
Going to bed at the same time daily...kinda important and nobody does it. Also set an alarm to wake up at the same time daily.
Oh this is a big one, specially when you're in college, avoid naps during the day. If you really, really have to, make sure is less than 1 hour and before 3pm.
When it comes to sleep behavior most of us don't pay attention to our body. It is pretty simple...go to bed when you are sleepy. But here is another tip: If you can't to fall asleep after 20 minutes...you must (1) get out of bed and (2)perform a soothing activity like hear soothing music, relaxing stretches, breathing exercises. Some people pick up a book and start reading...wrong! This is just going to cause your little brain to start thinking and become active.
A BIG NO NO! DON'T PICK UP YOUR PHONE (you can go on my instagram tomorrow morning)...this is going to add more unwanted blue light to your pretty little eyes. I will talk about this on a future post.
Also avoid emotionally upsetting conversations, watching scary movie, or anything that can trigger your mind to be alert or restless.
A lot of people fall into this bad habit which is the amount of time spent in bed...you want to restrict this to around 7 hours.
Really. Try not to watch tv, read, listen to the radio in bed. And yes, bed should only be used for sleeping and sex. Yes only those two activities, nothing else. zip. zero.
Some people who have problems falling asleep also do the following: watching the clock. This is probably one of the worst. What this does is reinforce negative thoughts and creates tension and anxiety.
Sleeping is associated with decline in core body temperature from a warmth state. This pretty much means you would want to go to sleep when your body temperature goes back down to a normal level. So? Raise it.
Something you can do to raise body temperature is to exercising. You shouldn't do this right before going to bed because like I said before anything that will bring alertness to your body, aint good. Try doing this about 3-4 hours before bed. (Have you noticed, that after a workout you are #dead, well that's your body telling you to go to sleep and rest)
Another pretty cool way to raise your body temperature is by taking warm bath 20 minutes before bed.This is amazing, and if you do it with soothing botanicals (if you have seen House Bunny, you know what I am quoting)
Make sure your bedroom is quiet and comfortable space for sleeping
- maintain steady temperature in the room, fluctuations in temperature disrupt dream state
- keep the bedroom dark! Even if you have to get black out curtains
•Healthy, balanced diet will help sleep...none of this junk food business.
•avoid stimulants such as: caffeine, chocolate, nicotine and alcohol 4-6 hours before bed...although alcohol is actually a depressant it can first cause you to fall sleep, but can mess up the quality of sleep.
•avoid large meals or empty stomach before bed, instead have a light snack
•milk contains Tryptophan = natural sleep inducer (I'll talk about foods later)
•maintain daytime activities the same even if you're tired
•exercise can promote good sleep but intense exercise should be done in morning or late afternoon
•relaxing exercises can be done before bed (like yoga, thats pretty much it, maybe stretching)
•exposure to natural light helps maintain healthy sleep-wake cycle
I hope you enjoyed this blog, let me know what you think and if you are suffering from sleep problems. God knows most of us are.
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