Updated on 3 December 2021
Sleep is a mystery, an alternate reality where the dreams fly in and out and disappear into thin air once we wake up.
The importance of sleep should not be underestimated. A full night’s sleep is important for the proper functioning of the body. Sleep deprivation can increase the risk of accidents and diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and depression.
Quite often, it is difficult to fall asleep soon after hitting the pillow. Lack of sleep leads to worry, and the worry in turn further affects the sleep. Though medicines are available to improve sleep, minor changes introduced in the routine could help to improve the sleep quality at night.
Maintain regular sleep and wake-up timings
Sleep timings are often neglected in the name of work schedules or late-night partying. In addition, holidays are looked upon as an excuse to spend the late morning hours in the bed. However, a sleep routine with regular sleep and wake-up timings may help to sleep better. Though the alarm’s snooze button may appear to be the best invention in a sleepy state, waking up at a regular time will help to fall asleep easily the following night. Avoid naps of more than 30 minutes in the afternoon if it affects the night sleep.
Keep screens away at bedtime
The smartphone has become an all-time companion, even at night. However, it should be kept away from the bedside well before sleep time. The constant buzzing of notifications and the flashing of the screen could disturb the sleep. The idea of having a television in the bedroom and binge watching till late night may not be a good idea either. Screens emit blue light, which could disturb sleep. A soft bedroom light could help to create a good ambience for sleep.
Exercise and adopt relaxation techniques
An exercise routine can help to improve sleep. It is usually recommended to avoid exercise in the hours leading to the sleep time. Relaxation techniques could also help to get a good night’s sleep.
Avoid stimulants before sleep time
The intake of alcohol and smoking may interfere with sleep, and the users should be advised individually depending on how it affects their sleep. A cup of coffee in the evening may not disturb sleep in habitual drinkers, but may interfere with sleep in people who are not used to it. Excess intake of water and other fluids should be avoided before sleeping to avoid frequent waking to use the bathroom.
Lack of sleep can be extremely disturbing, especially when others at home appear to be in deep sleep. The sleep hygiene techniques mentioned above could help, and are definitely worth a try.
Tsouklidis N, Tallaj N, Tallaj Y, Heindl SE. Lights Out! The Body Needs Sleep: Electronic Devices and Sleep Deficiency. Cureus. 2020 Jul; 12(7): e9292. doi: 10.7759/cureus.9292
Mylona I, Deres ES, Dere GS, Tsinopoulos I, Glynatsis M. The Impact of Internet and Videogaming Addiction on Adolescent Vision: A Review of the Literature. Front Public Health. 2020 Mar 5;8:63. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2020.00063.
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