Sleep hygiene: 8 ways to train your brain for better sleep

The days are longer, sunny and brighter with the promise of enjoying a more relaxing spring and summer with your loved ones. But if you want to enjoy your day, it’s time to increase your sleep at night

Boy do we need it. More than a third of American adults don’t get enough sleep regularly, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calling sleep deprivation a “public health epidemic.”

It’s also a global problem, according to the World Sleep Society, a nonprofit organization of sleep professionals dedicated to advancing “sleep health around the world.”

Sleep problems are a global epidemic that threatens the health and quality of life of up to 45% of the world’s population,” the company says.

You don’t have to spend your sleep privacy. Just as you learned to wash your hands frequently and wear a mask as part of your personal hygiene during a pandemic, you can learn to sleep better each night with what experts call “sleep hygiene”.

This is sleep expert jargon for how to train your brain to recognize when it’s time to fall asleep and then stay asleep.

Sleep is one of the three key ingredients to a healthier, longer life (the others are diet and exercise). Most of the ways to improve the quality of your sleep are easy to implement.

Here are the top eight ways to improve your sleep hygiene and get zz:

1. Create a sleeping nest

One of the first tasks is to set up your sleep environment. The REM or dream phase is a lighter level of rest that can be more easily disrupted, so strive for a comfortable mattress and not too warm bedding.

Science tells us that we sleep best in cooler temperatures of around 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 20 degrees Celsius).

2. Develop a routine

Establish a bedtime ritual by taking a hot bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music. Or you can try deep breathing, yoga, meditation, or light stretching.

You teach your brain to relax.

And stick to it. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or your days off, the CDC advises. The body loves the routine.

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3. Turn off the lights

The secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin begins at nightfall. Research has shown that the body slows down or stops the production of melatonin if exposed to light, so get rid of all light, even blue light from your charging smartphone or laptop. If your room isn’t dark enough, consider using sunglasses or eye masks.

What if you liked to read to sleep? That’s fine, experts say, just read in dim light from a real book, not from a tablet or e-reader.

This is because “any LED spectrum light source can suppress melatonin levels further,” said Dr Vsevolod Polotsky, who heads basic sleep research in the division of pulmonary medicine and critical care at the faculty. of Medicine from Johns Hopkins University, in an old interview with CNN.

“Digital light will suppress the circadian drive,” Polotsky said, while “weak reading light will not.”

4. Dampen sound

While you face the blue light from your smartphone, go ahead and turn off all work alerts (no Slack or email ping at 2 a.m.).

Better yet, just load the thing outside of your bedroom.

If you live in a noisy city environment, making white noise or running a fan in the bedroom can help muffle sudden noises that might make you jump out of sleep.

5. Boycott caffeine later in the day

Stop drinking liquids that contain caffeine at least six hours before your normal bedtime (some experts say nothing after 3 p.m.). And caffeine isn’t just limited to coffee, so this applies to some teas and sodas, as well as chocolate.

Yes, chocolate. That mug of hot chocolate that you think might help you sleep might contain 25 milligrams of caffeine, while a cup of green or black tea will provide 50 milligrams.

6. Avoid alcohol

Don’t turn to alcohol to calm your nerves or help you sleep. Alcohol can help you fall asleep, but it traps you in the lighter phases of sleep.

Your body needs to experience all three stages of sleep – light sleep, paradoxical or dreaming state, and deep sleep – to fully repair and restore itself.

7. Avoid heavy or spicy foods

Heavy and spicy foods can cause you heartburn or other digestive issues, affecting your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. As for sugar, studies show that it is linked to restless and disturbed sleep and can possibly affect hormones that control cravings.

A light snack before bed “is okay,” according to the National Sleep Foundation. He recommends snacking on a handful of nuts; some cherries (which are rich in melatonin); a banana (which contains muscle relaxants like potassium and magnesium) and decaffeinated teas like chamomile, ginger and peppermint.

8. Make the chamber sacred

And finally, book your bed to sleep and have sex.

As normal as it might sound to work at home or play games with the kids in bed, it doesn’t teach your brain to think of the bedroom as a place to sleep.

The need to sleep

Why go through all this trouble? Because lack of sleep is dangerous for your health.

Lack of sleep has been linked to a lack of libido, weight gain, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, paranoia, mood swings, depression, and increased risk. certain cancers, dementia, diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

But wait, there’s more: getting less sleep than you need on a regular basis can double your risk of dying. In a longitudinal study of 10,308 British officials, researchers found that people who cut back on sleep from seven to five hours or less per night were almost twice as likely to die from all causes, but mostly from cardiovascular disease.

Remember that the amount of sleep you need each night depends on your age.

Babies need 12 to 4 hours, toddlers 11 to 2 hours, and preschoolers 10 to 13 hours of sleep per day, including naps, according to the CDC. School-aged children need nine to 12 hours of sleep each night, and teens still need eight to 10 hours, which, because of social media, is infrequent.

Adults need to get at least seven hours of sleep a night, another goal many fall short of. But with these sleep hygiene tips, you can teach your brain some new tips for getting the quality sleep you crave.

Whatever you do, don’t stay sleep deprived: If you try these tips and you can’t relax, or if your sleep continues to deteriorate, be sure to contact your doctor or healthcare professional. mental.



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