Sleep hygiene

Sleeping is essential to survival, if we are deprived of it, the body can no longer hold out for long. Many people suffer from sleep disorders, whether it is a lack of sleep time, poor sleep quality or even medical conditions. The most likely symptoms following a sleep disorder are: mood swings, difficulty concentrating and remembering, weight gain, etc. 
Here are some tips for better sleep hygiene in general.

Sleeping habits:

  • Having a routine allows you to send signals to the body that will make it easier to fall asleep and wake up. So try to always go to bed at the same time and at the same time, to wake up at the same time.
  • Avoid taking a nap in the afternoon, especially in the late afternoon.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol 3 hours before bedtime. It is true that alcohol will help you fall asleep faster, but once the alcohol has dissipated from your blood, your sleep will be much lighter.
  • Avoid caffeine after 2pm (after 12pm (noon) if you are sensitive to it): coffee, tea, energy drinks, chocolate among others. The half-life of coffee is between 2 to 12 hours, on average between 4-6 hours to completely metabolize the coffee outside its system.
  • Avoid eating heavy/rich meals, spicy or overly sweet dishes 3 hours before going to bed. This has an impact on sleep because digestion requires a large amount of energy that is necessary for normal repair functions during sleep. In addition, some of these foods are quite stimulating.
  • Exercise regularly, but avoid exercising at the end of the day. Intense exercise 3 hours before bedtime can disrupt sleep, although some people may be completely exhausted after training. It would be enough to take a hot bath after physical activity to allow real relaxation and avoid the overexcitement that exercise can cause. On the other hand, activities such as gentle yoga or meditation/relaxation are quite appropriate.
  • Taking a hot bath or a hot shower allows the body to relax completely. Heat relaxes muscles, reduces anxiety, lowers blood pressure, acts as a nasal decongestant if necessary, increases oxygen consumption capacity, increases blood and lymphatic circulation.
  • Interesting fact: it is impossible to fall asleep if our feet are cold. This is the reason why some people sleep with their stockings on, and why they stick their feet on their spouses. A warm foot bath would be ideal before going to bed.

Environment in which you sleep:

  • Use a suitable mattress, sheets, pillows and pillows. Make an inventory and check for any items that seem to be preventing you from sleeping well and make any necessary changes if possible.
  • Check the temperature of the room: neither too hot nor too cold. The temperature that seems optimal for sleeping is cool (but not cold) ~ 17-18 °C. Make sure that the room has been well ventilated during the day and is well ventilated at night.
  • Make sure that the darkness is total. By putting your hand a few centimetres from your eyes you should not be able to see it. Use sleep masks to cover your eyes if necessary.
  • Make sure to eliminate all noise as much as possible, use earplugs if necessary.
  • Turn off or put in another room electronic devices such as the wifi router, telephones, tablets, etc. Set these devices to Airplane mode. Magnetic fields can have a big impact on your sleep, the electrical activity of your brain and your heart rate.
  • Observe the environment in which you sleep: is it a room that invites you to rest and sleep? or is it a room with clothes, books, objects everywhere? What is the colour of the walls? relaxing or rather aggressive? Does your pet wake you up at night? Find the elements and make changes.

Get ready to go to sleep:

  • Possibly practice a breathing or relaxation exercise before going to bed. Yoga, meditation, cardiac coherence.
  • Establish a bedtime preparation ritual: Read a few pages from a book before going to bed, write a few lines in a newspaper, smell relaxing essential oils for you (lavender, citrus fruits, fir trees)
  • If you do not fall asleep within 15-30 minutes, get up, read a few pages of a book in another room and as soon as you feel ready return to bed
  • Avoid sources of blue light in the evening: television, computer, laptop, etc. Most devices offer the “Night Shift” option to color your more orange screens and counter the blue screens, so go activate it. You may also want to buy glasses specially designed to filter blue light.
  • Avoid staying on an argument before bedtime or any situations that may cause you anxiety and stress.

Here are some of the little tricks to incorporate into our sleep ritual. Try one at a time so you don’t do too much at once and see what works best for you.