10 basic principles for good sleep hygiene
Several keys to sleep like a baby.
Having trouble sleeping lately? Well, think about all the factors that play a role in getting a good night's sleep: pressure at work, problems with your love relationship or drinking coffee after mid-afternoon can all be reasons that make it difficult for you to sleep well.
In this regard, it is very important to it is very important to prioritize sleep hygiene when it comes to adopting habits that allow us to sleep well, both in quantity and quality. Here we will see what this concept consists of.
Sleep hygiene: what is it?
There is no doubt that, sometimes, controlling all the factors that influence the quantity of sleep is complicated, but it is possible to adopt habits that allow you to sleep more and better. This is important for your health, but it is also necessary to be lucid and focused during the day.
The sleep hygiene is a set of practices that are necessary for a good night's sleep. When it comes to falling asleep at night, it is not only a question of quantity, but also of quality. How you sleep will influence your performance during the day, your well-being and your lucidity.
Difficulties in sleeping are often found in your daily routine: work schedule, bedtime habits, lifestyle, etc. Therefore, it is important to understand that the goal of sleep hygiene is to go to bed and wake up on a regular schedule throughout the week.. In addition, maintaining good bedtime habits also predisposes us to live a healthy lifestyle in which it is more difficult to start having problems to take advantage of the hours of sleep: it is a situation similar to a fish biting its own tail.
Of course, quantity is also important; it is essential that you spend the necessary amount of time in bed, i.e. no less and no more. This can vary between individuals (it can be 6, 7 or 8 hours) for different reasons, such as age.
The 10 tips for better sleep
The following tips can help you optimize your night's restso that your mental acuity does not suffer, you maintain your emotional balance and have an ideal level of energy during the day. So, pay attention, because these recommendations will positively affect your well-being.
1. Take care of your environment
It is necessary to create a suitable environment to be able to rest and not to interrupt your sleep during the night, because environmental conditions will affect your well-being.Because the environmental conditions will greatly affect the time of rest and the ability to fall asleep. To make the most of your rest during the night, you need to sleep on a comfortable mattress, with a suitable pillow, and in a room where you feel comfortable. When it is time to fall asleep, it is advisable to have little light, little noise and a pleasant temperature. It is highly recommended to have the TV off.
In addition, you should use the bed only for sleeping. What do I mean by that? Well, the bed should not be used for other things, such as playing console games, working on the computer or eating. What you can do in bed is have sex, and what's more, sex will allow you to sleep in bed, sex will allow you to sleep betterAfter reaching orgasm, your body relaxes and helps you fall asleep.
2. Follow a sleep ritual
If you have trouble sleeping, you can try having a ritual before going to bed.. For example, take a hot bath with some music to relax and then have a herbal tea before going to bed.
It is also important to be relaxed when you go to bed. If you have just done an exciting activity, it is convenient to find that ideal state before going to sleep. Perform relaxation techniques can be useful to calm you down and free you from daily tensions.
3. Watch your diet
Diet can influence our sleep, as both what and when we eat can affect our overall well-being. both what and when we eat can affect our overall well-being and can be a problem when we go to bed. and can be a problem at bedtime. A balanced diet will always be beneficial for our body, but it is also important to keep a schedule for meals. Dinner should not be heavy, but neither should we go to bed hungry because it can cause us to wake up during the night in search of food.
This is different from Night Eating Syndrome (NES), which can be caused by anxiety, depression or a change in endocrine patterns, among other reasons. If during the morning you present morning anorexia, that is, you practically do not eat; and during the rest of the day, until the evening, you ingest few calories, but then you stuff yourself with food, you should visit a specialist to treat this problem as soon as possible.
4. Do not take stimulants after mid-afternoon.
Coffee consumption is widespread in our culture, but caffeine stimulates the brain. caffeine stimulates the brain and interferes with sleep.. Consuming it in the morning can be a good option, but coffee, tea or cola-cola 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 such as coffee even just before going to bed. Unfortunately, most of us may not be so lucky. Just in case, it is best to do without stimulants if we find that we do not fall asleep at all well.
5. Get physical exercise
Regular physical exercise helps people sleep better. Its beneficial effects, however, depend on the time of day the exercise is performed and the general physical condition of the individual. Some experts warn that exercise performed in the morning does not affect nighttime sleep, and even helps people to sleep better, but if it is carried out very close to bedtime and the exercise intensity is high, it is likely to cause sleep disturbances..
After an intense training session, it takes up to four hours for the body to recover completely: return to normal Heart rate, recharge muscle energy stores, recover water balance and, in general, return to a state of rest that allows us to rest properly. On the other hand, little physical exercise and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to insomnia.
6. Do not abuse the nap
There are many studies that seem to indicate that taking a nap after eating brings many benefits for health and mind. Therefore, taking a nap will have a beneficial effect on your well-being and can increase your alertness, your concentration, your productivity, and will improve your memory and your learning capacity.
But to prevent napping from affecting nighttime sleep patterns and to avoid complications in falling asleep at night, it is best not to nap too late in the day, it is preferable not to take a nap too late in the day.. The ideal is a short nap, about 20 to 30 minutes maximum. If you have sleep problems at night, you may need to avoid napping for a while.
7. Try not to drink alcohol before going to sleep
Do not drink alcohol before going to sleep, because although it will help you fall asleep faster due to its depressant effect, it will alter the subsequent sleep phases and cause you to wake up. and will cause you to wake up during the night, preventing you from getting the necessary rest and reducing the quality of your sleep.
8. If you cannot fall asleep, get up.
If on any occasion you do not manage to fall asleep, get up and perform an activity that will induce you to sleep, such assuch as performing a relaxation technique or reading a book. It is better not to stay in bed, as it will increase your anxiety as time goes by. Do not overexert yourself during this period, as it may increase your level of wakefulness. Also avoid high illumination.
9. Always go to bed and get up at the same time.
Having a schedule for going to sleep and for waking up will allow your body to start the processes that will trigger sleep in advance, as well as help you to optimize your body clock.It will also help you to optimize your internal clock and, therefore, the quality of your sleep. If your work schedule allows it, schedule your sleep hours realistically to improve your quality of life.
It is not a matter of having a strict sleep schedule, but it is important that, for example, you do not go to bed late at night if you start work early.
10. Clear your head
Stress, worries or anger about something that happened during the day can disrupt your sleep. If this happens to you, you should take some time away from the bed for self-reflection, as this can help you figure out what is wrong and what you need to do to fix it. this can help you figure out what is happening to you and what you need to do to fix it..
If you can't stop worrying and feel like you've lost control, you need to learn how to manage your thoughts. For example, you should know that it is possible to evaluate your emotions and/or check how realistic your thoughts are. Mindfulness can be of great help for proper emotional management and self-awareness, to improve your self-esteem and to adopt a positive attitude towards problematic situations that may arise in everyday life.
It may be the stress of work or college that hinders your sleep. Learning time management skills can be effective in keeping you calm and relaxed during the night. You may need to address deeper issues, such as your self-esteem or your relationship. In these cases Insomnia may 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 consume coffee at night, do not eat a light dinner and have a sedentary lifestyle, it is very likely that you will have difficulty sleeping.
This is interesting to prevent sleep disorders, but if the problem is already present, you may need to see a psychologist. Insomnia is sometimes a symptom of a psychopathology 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.
- Freeman, D. et. al. (2017). The effects of improving sleep on mental health (OASIS): a randomised controlled trial with mediation analysis. Lancet Psychiatry, 4(10): pp. 749 - 758.
- Merino, M. et al. (2016). Sueño saludable: evidencias y guías de actuación. Documento oficial de la Sociedad Española de Sueño, 63(2).
- Paavonen, E. J, Räikkönen, K., Lahti, J., Komsi, N., Heinonen, K., Pesonen, A-K., Järvenpää, A-L., Strandberg, L., Kajantie, E., Porkka-Heiskanen, T. (2009). Short Sleep Duration and Behavioral Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Healthy 7- to 8-Year-Old Children. Pediatrics 123 (5) e857-e864.
- Taheri, S., Lin, L., Austin, D., Young, T., & Mignot, E. (2004). Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS medicine, 1(3), e62.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)