Is poor sleep hygiene ruining your quality of life?

Is poor sleep hygiene ruining your quality of life?

Poor sleep hygiene can zap you of energy and make it hard to perform during the day. Follow these tips to get your sleep hygiene in order.

Do you feel tired all day? Do you feel like you're constantly yawning at the work desk or struggling to keep your eye lids open. Yet in the night time you struggle to fall or stay asleep. If any of these sound familiar your probably experiencing the effects of poor sleep hygiene. 

Good sleep hygiene isn't just for the night time. Its a compilation of daytime habits and behaviours that impact your night time sleep which ultimately effects how you feel during the day.  

If you're a victim of poor sleep hygiene, you've likely experienced one or more of the following symptoms:

  • you take longer or have difficulty falling asleep
  • you're less likely to stay asleep through the night
  • you feel exceedingly tired during the day
  • have irregular sleep- wake times. You go to bed later than you should, wake up earlier than you'd like, and tend to sleep in on the weekends

Having poor sleep hygiene can impact your quality of life. Sleep deprivation downgrades your cognition and energy levels, which upsets your productivity, performance, and safety. In fact 1/5 of all fatal crashes involve a sleep-deprived driver.

It also disrupts our circadian rhythm which dictates your personal sleep schedule to promote natural healthy sleep. This takes a toll on your overall health. Research indicates inconsistency has been linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases and mood disorders.

Tips for proper sleep hygiene.

  1. Set a consistent sleep schedule. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, give or take 20minutes, including weekends. 
  2. Create a relaxing bedtime/pre-bedtime routine. Whether it's a warm bath, reading a book, listening to sleep casts, nature sounds, sleep music or meditating, any relaxing activity about an hour before bed helps creates a smoother transition between wakefulness and sleep.
  3. Use Magnesium Oil. Not having enough Magnesium in your system can cause troubled sleep and even insomnia. Magnesium Oil has a calming effect on your body's nervous system and relaxes the muscles, which in turn will help you to fall asleep easier and stay asleep for longer.
  4. keep your room cool and comfortable. The ideal room for sleeping is cool, quiet and dark. Studies show that a bedroom temperature of around 18 degrees Celsius is most conductive to healthy, restful sleep.
  5. Dim the lights after dark. Getting enough natural light during the day is important for keeping your circadian rhythm, or body clock, on a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Bright light from lamps and electronics at night, however can mess that cycle up, making it harder to fall asleep. That's because light, especially blue light from your laptop or mobile, interferes with the release of melatonin, a hormone that tells our body that it's time to wind down. Think about dimming the lights at home after you finish dinner, or once you get into bed. And, of course... 
  6. ...unplug an hour before bed. Screens and sleep are incompatible. Keeping screen use to a minimum, at least one hour before bed, is essential for sound sleep. Besides the light disrupting your body clock, games, videos, work emails, and social feeds all conspire to keep your mind active- and keep you awake way later than you should be. Make it a habit to sleep with your phone out of reach, if possible. Consider putting your phone into "do not disturb" or night-time mode to block notifications from flashing or vibrating your phone during the night. Another idea is to keep it face-down on your nightstand so that you will not see it light up in the night. If you need help waking up, consider an old-fashioned alarm clock.
  7. Steer clear of stimulants late in the day. Who doesn't love a good cup of coffee as a late-afternoon pick-me-up? Caffeine however, is a stimulant. If you're having trouble sleeping, you'll want to avoid beverages and foods that contain caffeine- coffee, non-herbal tea, colas, even chocolate- at least 6 hours prior to bedtime.
  8. Avoid foods that can disrupt sleep. Citrus fruits, spicy food, fatty or fried food, and heavy meals are all tough on the digestive system and can trigger indigestion. If you're prone to heartburn, or bloating, eating to close to bedtime can mean a night of misery. That's because it takes your stomach 3 to 4 hours to empty, so when you lie down right after a big meal your digestive juices are cranking. 
  9. Nix the nightcaps. Even a single glass of wine close to bedtime can impact your sleep. Though alcohol initially will make you feel drowsy, it can interfere with the quality of your sleep. Alcohol alters what's called "sleep architecture", the natural flow of sleep through different stages of sleep, REM sleep, and light sleep. Drinking can also lead to lighter, more restless sleep, diminishing sleep depth and quality, so you're more likely to wake up feeling fatigued.
  10. Get regular exercise. A 2013 study found that a regular exercise routine can help contribute to improved sleep. The study results suggest that the effects of exercise on improving your sleep may not be immediate, however. It may take a few weeks or even months before an exercise routine creates a substantial impact on the quality and quantity of your sleep.

    It’s safe to say that if you have trouble sleeping, you may want to get your workout in earlier in the day, or at least 3 hours before bedtime. Exercise stimulates your body to produce the stress hormone cortisol that keeps your brain alert. Which is perfectly normal and fine, unless you’re trying to fall asleep.

  11. Only use bed for sleep and sex. 

    If you struggle with sleep issues, it’s important to use your bedroom just for sleep (and sex). That means no TV, no internet browsing, no late-night heart-to-hearts with a partner or spouse. In doing this, you will train your mind to see your bed as a place of rest.

    Along these same lines, sleep hygiene experts recommend getting out of bed and going to another room if you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes. A relaxing activity — reading, listening to music, even a warm shower — can help get you drowsy. The goal of this technique, called stimulus control, is to break the association of bed as a place of frustration and worry (when counting sheep isn’t working).

  12. Limit or avoid naps during the day. Plenty of famous people throughout history — including Salvador Dali, Albert Einstein, and Winston Churchill — have been fans of the catnap. In corporate America, some companies have embraced the idea, setting up workplace nap rooms. Although a short power nap of 20-25 minutes can lift your mood and leave you more refreshed, at least in the short term, it won’t make up for poor quality sleep at night. However, if you are experiencing trouble falling or staying asleep, it can be best to avoid naps altogether. A late-afternoon snooze will decrease your homeostatic sleep drive, making it harder to drift off at bedtime.
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