The days of spring bring with its long sunshine and peaceful family along with a promise of a more relaxing and pleasurable summer.
Sleep Hygiene; Teach Your Brain To Sleep Better
However, one can experience the splendor of summer days only after he gets adequate sleep at night.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that more than a third of the adult American population is not getting enough sleep, terming the phenomenon of sleep deprivation as a public health epidemic.
Sleep deprivation across the world:
Sleep deprivation is not something exclusive to American citizens. It is a global issue, as stated by the data of the World Sleep Society.
It is a welfare organization constituting sleep specialists with a goal to promote sleep health across the world.
The data discloses that an estimated 45% of the world’s population suffer from sleep problem that hampers the overall quality of life and poses a variety of health risks.
Sleep hygiene, as described by experts
Although the statistical data look concerning, one does not need to spend his or her entire life with sleep deprivation.
There are certain simple practices like washing hands or wearing a mask that everyone has adhered to during the pandemic, following which one can improve the quality of sleep he or she experiences.
The simple practice that these experts put forward is popularly coined as sleep hygiene.
Having a sleep nest:
Creating a comfortable environment for sleeping is the first step towards sleep hygiene. Experts believe that the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) state during sleep is most vulnerable to get disrupted.
Hence it is important to make the sleeping area as comfortable as possible, making maintaining the temperature between 15-20 degrees celsius, and having bedding and mattress that provides maximum comfort.
The next step after setting up the sleep nest is making a routine and adhering to it. One should set up a prior bed ritual like taking a bath, reading or listening to something soothing, practicing yoga or meditation, and maybe performing some light stretching.
Such routine trains the brain to switch off once the activities are carried out and helps in falling asleep.
Cut out the lights:
Sleep is induced by the secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin which occurs best in the dark.
The secretion of melatonin slows down or stops if the place where one is sleeping has some light source on.
It can also get hampered by the presence of light from a laptop, mobile, or tablet screen.
However, those who like to read before sleeping can use some dim light, but not any light from the laptop or tablet as such LED light transmission can further suppress the secretion of melatonin and cause sleep disturbance.
One should also make sure that there is no sudden noise to break the slumber, for the said purpose all the electronic gadgets should be kept outside the bedroom.
Individuals living in noisy areas can consider keeping on some white noise or fan to cut down any sudden loud noise.
Avoiding caffeine later in the day:
Consumption of caffeine in the latter part of the day should be avoided as it can make the brain more alert than is necessary for falling asleep.
Some experts suggest not consuming any caffeinated food or drinks after 3 pm, examples of caffeinated products include, a cup of hot chocolate, black tea, or chocolate bar.
Consumption of alcohol should also be avoided as although it can help one fall asleep, it keeps the individual in the REM state. For the complete rest of the brain and the bodily system, a person has to experience all the stages of sleep that include, including light sleep, REM and deep sleep.
Besides the above, spicy foods, and sugars should also be avoided.
To satiate the cravings at night, some berries, chamomile tea and banana are better options that can promote good sleep.