Sleep hygiene is a set of practices that help a person achieve healthy and restful sleep. People with sleep disorders have been using them for decades to improve nighttime sleep and prevent sleepiness during the day. Their goal is to fight insomnia, which reduces the quality of human life.
The effect of sleep on the human body
If a person constantly lacks sleep and suffers from poor-quality sleep, not only his mood worsens, but also his well-being. Due to lack of sleep:
the immune system weakens and ceases to produce enough cytokines to fight infection;
increased risk of developing common respiratory diseases;
body weight changes. Human sleep affects leptin and ghrelin, hormones that control satiety and hunger. Also, lack of sleep contributes to the release of insulin, which leads to excess weight and increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes;
the cardiovascular system suffers;
memory and concentration deteriorate;
there are bouts of depression;
decreased sex drive, etc.
Therefore, it is very important to organize a healthy sleep. It is part of a healthy lifestyle and the path to longevity.
Bad habits that spoil a person’s healthy sleep
In order for healthy sleep to become a reality at night, and not a pipe dream, you need to learn to say: “No”:
Hearty meals eaten before bed — fried pork chops, a sandwich with cheese and sausage, dumplings — overload the gastrointestinal tract. The body begins to work at full strength to digest heavy food. Also, spices eaten the day before can interfere with healthy sleep. Their excessive amount in food can cause stomach discomfort, due to which a person is not able to fall asleep normally. Do not get carried away with coffee, black and green tea, as well as chocolate before a night’s rest. All of these foods and drinks contain caffeine, which is known to stimulate the central nervous system.
Jogging and other strenuous exercise after dinner stimulates the release of the stimulating hormone adrenaline. As a result, a person gets tired and cannot fall asleep normally. Therefore, three hours before bedtime, it is not recommended to play sports. Hard physical work can also be added to the list of habits and activities that interfere with normal sleep. You should not, for example, rearrange furniture late in the evening, do a general cleaning or glue wallpaper. The only allowable load is intimacy. During lovemaking, the body produces endorphins, hormones of pleasure that set a person to relax.
The bed is a place of rest and intimacy. For any person, it should be associated only with relaxation. It is not recommended to read for a long time, watch TV, sit at a laptop, eat, write, etc. All these actions are harmful both to the eyes and to the spine. Unless you can read a good book for half an hour. After that, it is recommended to get out of bed, turn over and fluff the pillow. A warm bed prevents you from falling asleep quickly. Some somnologists even recommend placing a cellophane-wrapped pillow in the freezer for a few seconds. It is believed that the sweetest dreams will be on cool bedding.
The monitor is considered the leader in provoking insomnia. Therefore, it is advisable to stop working at the computer at least two hours before bedtime.
Any objects that make sounds: ticking clocks, mobile phones, smartphones, can become a serious obstacle for a falling asleep person. If it is difficult to wake up in the morning without an alarm clock, it makes sense to find a modern silent model that will set you up in the morning with a pleasant melody. It is better not to keep all other items in the bedroom — the abode of healthy sleep, which is the key to health and beauty.
Heavy curtains and carpets collect dust that makes it hard for a person to breathe. It is not advisable to hang shelves with books and put a wardrobe in the bedroom. If living space allows, move this furniture to other rooms. To immerse yourself in a healthy night’s rest, before going to bed, open the window for airing. Fresh air will help you fall asleep quickly. The ideal temperature for sleeping is around 18°C.
Synthetic sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers sometimes become a real torture for someone who wants to fall into a restful sleep. Underwear that will help relax the body should be made from natural linen or cotton fabric.
Good bedtime habits
To properly organize a person’s sleep, one must not only be able to say: “No” to bad habits, but also to say: “Yes”:
Skip a heavy dinner that includes fatty, smoked, spicy, and salty foods. One of the recommended meals before bed is rice. Thanks to its starch content, it promotes digestion and the production of serotonin, which improves mood. To relax, you can also eat a magnesium-rich leafy green salad. Or, in the old fashioned way, drink a glass of warm milk or fermented baked milk.
Forget about everything bad before going to bed and try not to scream or quarrel. Especially this should not be done with a loved one with whom you sleep in the same bed. No wonder there is a saying: “The morning is wiser than the evening” — go to bed calmly, put off all the showdowns until morning. Who knows, maybe in the morning there will be no reason for a quarrel?
Yoga, relaxation, meditation — all these relaxation techniques will help you fall asleep peacefully. If a person has never meditated and does not know how to do yoga, you can try a simple and easy way to quickly relax. To do this, you need to choose a comfortable position, for example, sit in a chair. Then you should concentrate your attention on breathing and mentally follow how the inhalation and exhalation is done. You should also imagine how slowly all the muscles relax, starting from the toes and ending with the top of the head. The last step is to drink a soothing tea. As an option — with lemon balm or valerian.
Pleasant smells set you up for a sweet dream and comfort. The aroma of tangerine or orange will always help you relax before going to bed. Therefore, you can put an aroma lamp in the bedroom with drops of citrus oil, lemon balm or chamomile. Or apply a few drops of essential oil to a tissue and place it at the head of the bed.
The sleeping bed should be without flaws — knots, pits, lumps of batting, etc. It is recommended to sleep on a wooden bed and an orthopedic mattress. It is on such a bed that a person can take a comfortable position and fall asleep easily. And do not choose high pillows for sleeping. The head should be about ten centimeters above shoulder level.
Some people can’t sleep because they’re constantly cold. Nevertheless, a healthy sleep of a person is possible only in cozy and comfortable conditions. To solve this problem, sometimes it is enough just to put on warm socks made of fine wool or cotton fabric.