Sleep Hygiene Tips That are Proven to Work!

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 What is sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is adopting the necessary habits and practices that allow you to sleep well at night with full daytime alertness. From your brain and heart to your muscles andimmune system, every single organ and system in your body is closely related to sleep hygiene. Having good nighttime sleep has been shown to significantly decrease chances for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, heart attack, stroke,diabetes, immune-deficiency, and even cancer.
Tips for better sleep hygiene
– Go to bed at the same time every day: Sleep is controlled by the body’s internal biological clock, through secretion of a very important sleep-controlling hormone ‘melatonin’ by the brain. Going to bed at the same time every day will make your brain adapted to secrete high levels of melatonin at that time, helping you to fall asleep faster.
– Make your bed a ‘sleep-only’ area: By avoiding working, reading, watching TV, anddoing other things in bed, you help your body prepare for sleep and help your brainknow when to secrete melatonin “when you get in bed”.
– Avoid foods and drinks that can affect the quality of sleep: High-caffeine drinks, alcohols, heavy meals, and nicotine negatively affect your sleep quality. Although you might fall asleep faster after eating a heavy meal or drinking alcohol close to bed, your sleep quality becomes poorer later at night as the body starts to digest and metabolize them.
– Exercise even as little as 15 minutes a day: Exercising boosts secretion of certainhormones – dopamine and serotonin (happiness hormones) and endorphins (morphine-like hormone) – which make you feel relaxed and sleep well at night. In addition, exercising makes you feel tired later at night, which reminds you that it’s time to go to bed.
– Sleep for 4 to 6 sleep cycles: A complete sleep cycle lasts for 1.5 hours, after which you enter a phase of wakefulness where you become more capable of waking up feeling alert. The goal is to wake up exactly after the end of one of these 1.5-hour cycles, so it is recommended to sleep 6, 7.5, or 9 hours, and to wake up immediately after anywithout pressing the snooze button.
– Take only short naps: Although 20-30 minute naps can increase your daytime alertness and improve your mood, taking naps longer than 30 minutes can disturb your biological sleep rhythm and thus gives you poor sleep quality.
Risks of poor sleep hygiene
On the short term, poor nighttime sleep quality makes you unable to focus at daytime, feeling constantly tired, and puts you in a bad mood. On the long term, the risks you project yourself to by having poor sleep hygiene are difficult to summarize. You become at higher risk to develop Alzheimer’s due to depositions of certain structures called ‘amyloid protein’ in your brain cells causing them to dysfunction. Your body loses control over blood glucose levels, putting you in a pre-diabetic state of high blood glucose ‘hyperglycemia’. Your malignancy-fighting immune cells start to shut down, making you more prone to develop cancer. You become 200% more likely to suffer from a stroke or heart attack after the age of 45.
Having good sleep hygiene is one of the most cost-efficient ways to maintain good health; all you have to do is to sleep well!
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