Why is good sleep hygiene important?

Sleep hygiene is extremely important for both physical and mental health.

It can also improve productivity and overall quality of life.

With good sleep, you are guaranteed to be and feel your best throughout the day. I am very sure you don’t want to feel groggy, moody or mentally slow day to day. So why not take a look at the
tips below on how to be and feel your best?

Tip 1: Limit daytime naps to 30 mins

If you sleep right, you probably won’t need to have a nap on most days! But what if you’re tired and your body is begging for a little snooze?

In that case, take a nap between 20 and 30 minutes long. The nap will likely improve your mood, alertness and performance.

However longer naps my leave you feeling more tired if they’re too long. And the biggest risk of naps is letting it drag for hours. Because when that happens, your body clock has shifted and you will have trouble sleeping that same night, which will in turn leave you tired the next day. This will keep you in a cycle of bad sleep and groggy days. So do nap, but do so with caution!

Tip 2: Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime

Try to avoid having any stimulant after 4pm. Because even though you might feel fine, it will likely worsen your sleep. You may sleep a good amount of time, but feel tired the next day.

Tip 3: Don’t drink alcohol, if you can help it!

I’m not going to tell you to NEVER drink alcohol, just so you can sleep better. I mean, we only live once, and we all need to wind down from time to time.

However, as much as possible, try to keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum, particularly if you need to be at your best on the following day. Yes, you might fall asleep faster after drinking, and it might even help you stay asleep for a while – but trust me, you will likely still feel tired the next day. Particularly if you had a wild night.

Tip 4: Exercise in the morning!

If you really want to take your sleep to the next level, try to exercise in the morning! If you really are only able to exercise at night, then go ahead. Late exercise is better than no exercise.

But if you can choose, go with morning exercise. It’s been proven to help the body fall asleep faster, better and for longer.

Tip 5: Get exposed to natural light early in your day

Our circadian rhythm (our bodies’ internal clock that determines when we feel energetic and when we feel tired) is set off by natural light. If you get exposed to sunlight early in the day, your body’s internal clock will be properly calibrated for the day, meaning you will get tired when you are supposed to.

Tip 6: Avoid bright lights at night

This tip is basically the flipside of tip 5. If you expose your eyes to bright lights at night, your body will think it’s time to get going, and it will release stimulants that will keep you up for longer, which is exactly what we DON’T want at night.

So instead, try  to wind down a few hours before your bedtime, try to use your electronics as little as possible, and if you do, try to tone down the brightness. This will get you feeling the good kind of tired, so that you will drift off into the dreamworld as soon as you lie down to rest!

Tip 7: Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day

There’s a good chance that when you were a kid, you sometimes woke up before your alarm rang. Maybe seconds before, maybe minutes. It has happened to a lot of us.

If it has happened to you, then you might also remember that when your body beats the alarm, you wake up feeling GOOD, FRESH and AWAKE – as if you had been up for a while.

This is the beauty of having a regular sleeping schedule.

With a regular schedule, your body will tune up and tune down when it’s supposed to. You won’t feel tired during the day, or so awake at night that you can’t sleep and have to count sheep!

You will wake up feeling great every morning, and will waste no time falling asleep in the evenings.

Tip 8: Have a relaxing bedtime routine

The human body is quite amazing. It adapts to stimulus, it learns.

If you read a book every night right before bed, using the same armchair and the lying in the same position, your brain will start associating reading with “time to get to sleep”.

When this happens, once you are done your reading session your body will be ready for sleep, because it knows what’s coming.

You don’t have to read for this trick to work. Simply choose any relaxing bedtime routine you can do regularly and you enjoy – then do it.

Tip 9: Use your bed only for sleep

The flipside of tip 8. If you work in your bed, or read, then your brain will start associating your bed with “alright it’s time to focus and stay alert – we have to get work done”.

And as good as it is to work for our wellbeing, it’s not something we want to be doing when we need to rest.

So as much as possible, try to only use your bed to sleep! So that when you lie down, your brain gets the message and won’t keep you up throughout the night.

Tip 10: Make your room as dark as possible, and keep it cold

Our bodies sleep well when it’s dark and cold. With the right environment, becoming doesn’t become a hassle anymore.

Get a good aircon if you can, and make sure to get a good pair of blackout curtains.

If you can’t see your hand when you put it in front of your face you know you got yourself a good pair of blackout curtains.

Tip 12: Proper neck and spine alignment

If your body is put in an awkward and uncomfortable position throughout the night, you are very likely to wake up midway through the night.

Sometimes you might even wake up without remembering or realising it, but just because you don’t remember it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen – your sleep quality will still be affected and you will be tired the next day.

A bad pillow can really wreak havoc to your neck. Many headaches are caused by bad neck positioning throughout the night. Being in an awkward position, the neck gets tense, knots accumulate in the muscle (which are hard to get rid of) and some mornings you will know you had bad sleep because you will wake up in excruciating pain.

A bad mattress is even more of a worry. If it’s too soft or too firm, as many are, you will likely wake up with a back ache. Sometimes your back won’t immediately hurt when you rise out of bed, but the damage you caused yourself will be felt later on, maybe after standing for longer than usual.

Weakened necks and backs are more prone to injuries, and if you have ever been injured before, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s something you will want to avoid.

Which is why it’s so important that you get a high-quality mattress and pillow. The quality of your mattress and pillow will determine how pain-free, injury free and lively your days are.

There are a few options out there: traditional memory foam (invented in the 1960s), springs (we all know how uncomfortable they are), hybrid (a mixture of foam and springs) and then there are new technologies which kept all the best features of the old technologies, but improved upon them, such as MemoryCloud™.

You should get a MemoryCloud™ pillow and mattress if you can afford it – it will give you the best sleep you could dream of.

However, if you can’t, at least try to get the best quality bedding according to your budget. Because sleep isn’t something one should save money on!

Tip 13: Apply the tips you can

Last but not least, few of us are disciplined enough to be able to do all these things at once! Some of theses might be impossible to us.

For example: good luck keeping a regular sleep routine if you have young children!!

However, do try to follow as many of these tips as possible, because the better your sleep, the better your days.

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