03 Dec. 2023

Sleep hygiene

If you are experiencing sleep problems, it’s worth checking if applying the following sleep hygiene principles can help. When the state of insomnia persists, don’t hesitate to seek help from a specialist.

If you are experiencing sleep problems, it’s worth checking if applying the following sleep hygiene principles can help. When the state of insomnia persists, don’t hesitate to seek help from a specialist.

SLEEP HYGIENE

1. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule: Wake up at the same time every day and set a regular bedtime, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body and brain.

2. Avoiding naps: Napping is not recommended. If you decide to nap, it shouldn’t exceed 30 minutes.

3. Avoiding coffee, caffeinated drinks, nicotine, and alcohol close to bedtime (6-8 hours before sleep): Caffeine disrupts the sleep cycle, even if you don’t feel its stimulating effects. When alcohol is metabolized, sleep can become shallow and intermittent. People with sleep disorders are often more sensitive to various stimulants than others.

4. Avoiding heavy meals before bedtime: Do not eat at night. Don’t go to bed overly full or very hungry. Research has shown that fruits such as berries, kiwi, and cherries can compensate for sleep deprivation.

5. Exercise for good sleep quality: Aerobic exercises (gymnastics, walking) are recommended; however, avoid heavy training shortly before bedtime.

6. Light exposure: Bright light exposure in the morning is recommended, and dim light exposure in the evening. The sleeping environment should be dark at night. You can use blinds or sleep masks.

7. Room temperature: The room should not be too hot or too cold; a cool temperature (around 19 degrees Celsius) is recommended. Use an extra blanket if you feel cold. Noise can be masked by white noise or using earplugs.

8. Avoiding TV, computer, and phone use 60 minutes before bedtime: Blue light emitted by screens “imitates” daylight. Thinking it’s daytime, the brain reduces the amount of melatonin produced, remaining in a state of alertness. Moreover, using electronic devices generally promotes a continuous state of readiness. If watching TV is a relaxing activity for you, shift the viewing time earlier.

9. Not using the bed during the day for work, watching TV, reading books, or phone calls: Eliminate distractions from the bedroom (TV, computer, loud devices). Don’t look at the clock – it leads to unpleasant thoughts about lack of sleep.

10. Warm shower/bath up to 1 hour before bedtime: Helps to relax.

11. Avoiding catastrophic thoughts: Lack of sleep is not a disaster. You need rest, and your goal is to calm your mind. Don’t give up on sleep during the night; don’t engage in typical daytime activities.

12. Medications should be taken according to the doctor’s recommendations.

13. Limiting time spent in bed: Reduce the time spent in bed to the time you actually slept during the night in the previous week. If you wake up and it lasts longer than 20 minutes, get out of bed, go to another room, read a book, or do an activity that won’t wake you up. When you feel sleepy, go back to bed. Do not confuse tiredness with drowsiness – they are not the same states.

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