10 basic principles for good sleep hygiene

Have you been having trouble sleeping lately? So think about all the factors involved in sleeping peacefully at night: pressure at work, problems with your love affair or drinking coffee after mid-afternoon can be reasons that keep you from doing well. to sleep.

In this way, it is very important to prioritize sleep hygiene by adopting habits that allow us to sleep well, both in quantity and quality. We will see here what this concept consists of.

Sleep hygiene: what is it?

There is no doubt that sometimes controlling all the factors that influence the amount of sleep is tricky, but it is possible to adopt habits that allow you to sleep longer and better. This is important for your health, but on top of that, you also need to be clear-headed and focused during the day.

the sleep hygiene it is a set of practices that become necessary for good sleep. When we talk about reconciling sleep at night, it is not only a question of quantity, but also of quality. The way you sleep will influence your performance during the day, your well-being and your lucidity.

Difficulties sleeping are often found in daily routine: work schedule, bedtime habits, lifestyle, etc. This is why it is important that you understand this the goal of sleep hygiene is to go to bed and wake up on a schedule throughout the week. In addition, maintaining good sleep habits also predisposes us to live a healthy life in which it is more difficult to start having problems enjoying the hours of sleep: it is a situation similar to a fish biting its tail. .

Of course, the quantity is also important; it is essential that you spend the necessary time in bed, that is, no less and no more. It can vary from individual to individual (it can last 6, 7 or 8 hours) for different reasons, such as age.

Top 10 Tips for Better Sleep

The tips below they can help you optimize your night’s rest, So that your mental acuity does not suffer, maintain your emotional balance and have an ideal level of energy during the day. So be careful, because these recommendations will have a positive impact on your well-being.

1. Take care of the environment

cal create a suitable environment to be able to rest and not interrupt sleep during the night, Because environmental conditions greatly affected rest time and the ability to fall asleep. To get the most out of your night’s rest, you should sleep on a comfortable mattress, with an appropriate pillow, and in a room where you are comfortable. When falling asleep, it is advisable that there is little light, little noise and a pleasant temperature. It is strongly recommended to turn off the TV.

In addition, you should only use the bed for sleeping. What do I mean by that? Because the bed should not be used for other things, such as playing on the console, working with the computer, or eating. What you can do in bed is have sex, and what’s more, sex will allow you to sleep better: After reaching orgasm, the body relaxes and promotes the ability to fall asleep.

2. Follow a sleep ritual

If you have trouble sleeping, you can try to have a ritual before bed. For example, take a hot bath with music to relax you, then take an infusion before bed.

It is also important that you are relaxed when you lie down. If you have just done an exciting activity, it is advisable to find this ideal state before going to bed. do relaxation techniques it can be useful to reassure you and free you from daily stress.

3. Take care of your diet

Food can influence our sleep because what and when we eat can affect our overall well-being and can be a problem at bedtime. A balanced diet will always be beneficial for our body, but in addition, it is also important to keep a schedule when it comes to meals. Dinner doesn’t have to be heavy, but you also don’t have to go to bed hungry as it can cause us to wake up at night looking for food.

This is different from nocturnal eating syndrome (NES), which can be caused by anxiety, depression, or a change in endocrine patterns, among other reasons. If during the morning you have morning anorexia, that is, you hardly eat anything; and during the rest of the day, until nightfall, you ingest few calories, but then stuffing yourself with food, you should consult a specialist to deal with this problem as soon as possible.

4. Don’t take stimulants after mid-afternoon

The consumption of coffee is widespread in our culture, however caffeine stimulates the brain and interferes with sleep. Consuming in the morning can be a good option, but coffee, tea, or the queue should not be consumed after mid-afternoon, especially if you are sensitive to its effects.

It is important to note that despite these indications, there are people who can consume products like coffee even before going to bed. Unfortunately, most of us may not be so lucky. Just in case, it is better to do without stimulants if we see that we do not reconcile the dream of everything well.

5. Practice physical exercise

Regular exercise helps people sleep better. Its beneficial effects, however, depend on the time of day at which the exercise is performed and the general physical condition of the individual. Some experts warn that exercise in the morning does not affect sleep at night and even helps you sleep better, but if practiced very close to bedtime and the intensity of the exercise is high, it is likely to cause sleep disturbances.

After an intense workout, it takes up to four hours for the body to fully recover: returning to a normal heart rate, recharging muscle energy deposits, regaining water balance, and generally returning to a normal state. of rest that allows us a correct rest. However, exercising little and leading a sedentary lifestyle can lead to insomnia.

6. Don’t overuse the nap

Numerous studies seem to indicate that taking a nap after lunch has many health and mental health benefits. Therefore, taking a nap will have a beneficial effect on your well-being and may increase your alertness, focus, productivity, and improve your memory and learning abilities.

But to prevent the nap from affecting sleep patterns at night and to avoid complications when it comes to falling asleep at night, it is best not to take a nap too late in the day. The ideal is a short nap, 20 to 30 minutes maximum. If you have trouble sleeping at night, you may need to avoid a nap for a while.

7. Try not to drink alcohol before bed.

Do not drink alcohol before going to bed because although it will help you fall asleep faster due to its depressive effect, it will alter the later stages of sleep. and will make you wake up during the night, preventing the necessary rest and decreasing the quality of sleep.

8. If you cannot fall asleep, get up

If at some point you can’t fall asleep get up and do some activity that prompts you to sleep, Like performing a relaxation technique or reading a book. It is best not to stay in bed, as this will increase your anxiety when you see the time passing by. Do not overwork during this time, as it may increase your arousal level. It also avoids intense lighting.

9. Go in bed and always get up at the same time

Have a schedule to sleep and wake up this will allow your body to begin the processes that will trigger sleep in advance, In addition to helping you optimize the internal clock and therefore the quality of sleep. If your work schedule allows it, plan your sleep hours realistically to improve your quality of life.

It’s not about having a strict sleep schedule, but it’s important, for example, that you don’t go to bed late at night if you’re starting to work out. early.

10. Clean your head

Stress, worry, or anger about something that happened during the day can interrupt your sleep. If this happens to you, you should take some time out of bed to think about yourself, then it can help you understand what is happening to you and what you need to do about it.

If you can’t stop worrying and feel like you’ve lost control, you need to learn to manage your thoughts. For example, you should know that it is possible to assess your emotions and / or to check the realism of your thoughts. Mindfulness can be a great help for good emotional management and self-knowledge, for improving your self-esteem and for adopting a positive attitude in the face of problematic situations that may arise in everyday life.

Perhaps it is the stress of work or college that is making it difficult for you to sleep. Learning to manage time can be effective in keeping you calm and relaxed at night. You still have to tackle deeper issues, such as your self-esteem or your relationship. In such cases insomnia can be a symptom of a more serious problem.

Important: Insomnia can sometimes be a symptom of a psychological disorder

Sleep hygiene is effective when different habits are performed at the same time. If you always go to bed at the same time, but drink coffee in the evening, don’t dine lightly, and have a sedentary lifestyle, chances are you are having trouble sleeping.

This is great for preventing sleep disturbances, but if the problem is already there, you may need to see a psychologist. Insomnia is sometimes a symptom of certain psychopathologies such as depression or anxiety. In these cases, in addition to following the 10 tips for good sleep hygiene, it is also necessary to attend psychotherapy sessions.

You might be interested in: “7 Psychological Signs That You Are Not Getting Enough Sleep”

Bibliographical references:

  • Freeman, D. et al. at. (2017). The effects of improved sleep on mental health (OASIS): a randomized controlled trial with mediated analysis. Lancet Psychiatry, 4 (10): pages 749-758.
  • Merino, M. et al. (2016). Healthy sleep: evidence and guidelines for action. Official document of the Spanish Dream Society, 63 (2).
  • Paavonen, E. J, Räikkönen, K., Lahti, J., Komsi, N., Heinonen, K., Pesonen, AK., Järvenpää, AL., Strandberg, L., Kajantie, E., Porkka-Heiskanen, T. (2009). Short Sleep Duration and Behavioral Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Healthy Children 7-8 Years of Age. Pediatrics 123 (5) e857-e864.
  • Taheri, S., Lin, L., Austin, D., Young, T., and Mignot, E. (2004). Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS Medicine, 1 (3), e62.

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