By Camilla Swart
How’s your sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is a term used to describe good sleeping habits.
Sleep is necessary for all organisms. It affects mental and physical health. It is necessary for energetic and motivated days, as well as muscle growth and tissue maintenance.
The fact that our brain’s health is affected by our quality of sleep is of paramount importance!
Natural ‘sleeping rhythm” is called the circadian rhythm. This is dependent on natural triggers – light and darkness – leading to melatonin buildup – leading to feeling sleepy. Melatonin is a hormone released by the body to regulate the sleep/wake cycle. It can be prescribed for insomnia, as well as plant-based products, which mimic the natural production of melatonin, such as valerian, magnesium, lavender oil, passion flower extracts, tryptophan and chamomile, CBD oil, to name a few.
NOT SLEEPING WELL – LOOK AT THE FOLLOWING:
- Examine your daily routine – is it stressful, are you making time to exercise, what are you eating and when, do you watch TV or work on your laptop in bed? All the above can adversely impact your sleeping routine.
- Examine your bedroom – is it cool enough (between 16-18⁰C), dark enough, is your mattress comfortable, pillow comfortable, blankets cotton or a natural fiber (sleep enhancing) Visit Linen Drawer for expert help in this area!
- Examine your bedtime routine – is your mind calm, are you sleepy, you need to be calm state of mind, do you meditate or listen to calming music? If you don’t have a routine -establish one, it can definitely help you sleep.
- Examine your nap times – do you nap, for how long, when, all these can impact your sleeping quality.
- Keep a sleep diary – this will reveal how and what impacts your sleeping quality.
- Assess whether you need medical help – do you have sleep disorders like apnea, restless legs, or narcolepsy?
At Linen Drawer our byline is ‘sleeping comfort’ and it is something we really care about. All our products are aimed specifically at ‘sleeping comfort’. Physical comfort is a huge requirement for sleeping soundly and enjoying consistently good sleep. Let’s have a look at the OTHER REQUIREMENTS:
- Have a consistent sleep time – even over weekends. This enables your body to establish and maintain its circadian rhythm. Budget time for sleep!
- Spend the last hour of the day without television, computers, cell phones or any blue light emitting devices. Blue light has an adverse effect on melatonin production and leads to fractured sleep.
- Your bed is not an alternative work-station. It is for rest and relaxation.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine before bedtime, as they all impact very negatively on sleep quality.
- Make sure your bedroom is airy, cool, dark and comfortable.
- Make sure your bedding is comfortable and supports your body adequately. See our blog posts on choosing a mattress and pillows - https://www.linendrawer.co.za/pillow-talk.
- Avoid naps close to bedtime, or any time after 5pm.
- Calm your mind before attempting to fall asleep – meditate, pray, do yoga, practice deep breathing.
- Don’t eat spicy, fatty foods before sleeping. Big meals at night need to digest and could cause stomach troubles or heartburn.
- Foster good sleeping habits in the daylight hours – sunlight has an enormous effect on our circadian rhythms. Exposure to sunlight during the day has the effect of alerting our bodies to sleep when the light diminishes.
- Exercise daily – even a short 10minute walk is beneficial to improving sleep quality. However, vigorous exercise 1-2hours before bedtime is not recommended, as it may hinder your body settling down to sleep.
- Control your exposure to light – bright sunlight in the morning and natural daylight throughout the day will help you wake up and stay wake-full, which in turn is great for your circadian rhythms. When it gets darker your brain tells your body it’s time to sleep/rest.
Sleep and sleeping really is of absolute importance to human beings. The quality of our sleep determines our days. At Linen Drawer sleeping comfort is supremely important and we can help you to achieve at least that component of a proper night’s sleep!
Wishing you a good night – always.