The maintenance of a healthy sleep routine is essential for the effective functioning of an individual. Sleep hygiene is attained by bringing modification in lifestyle and preparation for bedtime in order to improve sleep quality. The use of sleeping pills is a grave concern these days. Without proper consultation from the doctor, these can have harmful effects. How to fall asleep without the use of medications is not a big science. This can easily be achieved by the use of some simple yet highly effective ways that we should be familiar with.
Why good sleep is essential? It restores our energy and makes us able to work for the next day. Sound sleep enhances our memory and concentration. Good sleep also protects us from common stress-related conditions such as anxiety, depression, etc.,
Seven rules for good sleep
Rule 1: Change the environment
Make the place calm, comfortable. Keep the lights dim. The place where you sleep should be separate from the place where you study and work. Maintain appropriate room temperature.
Rule 2: don’t stay on the bed without sleep
This is an important aspect of sleep hygiene. Staying on the bed for a longer period without sleep decreases the quality of sleep. Usually, we are doing activities while we are on the bed such as watching TV, using a smartphone, etc. For good sleep, this behavior should be avoided.
Another important aspect is when we go to bed and not able to sleep. We stay on the bed without sleep even for the whole night. This should be discouraged.
Rule 3: The activities before sleep
Some activities which are done before sleep, decrease the quality of it. These are heavy exercise and meal just before sleep, excessive use of caffeine and other stimulants especially at night time, and watching movies and dramas at night. It is recommended that screen time should be minimum before sleep.
On the other hand, prayer, reading books or newspaper and other soothing exercises increase the quality of sleep. Regular exercise also helps in good sleep.
Rule 4: Fix the awakening time
This is especially more helpful for the individual where a sleeping pattern is irregular. What you have to do is to fix an awakening at your ease. The next step is to strictly follow the awakening time. Even if you are not able to fall asleep at night, get up from the bed at a fixed time. There is no need to compensate sleep at day time.
Rule 5: Sleep Restriction
When sleep occurs in breaks, this technique really helps a lot. All we have to do is, to reduce the time on the bed. Either go to bed late or wake early. The outcome will be continuous and interruption-free sleep.
Rule 6: Avoid sleeping pills and drugs of abuse
The use of sleeping pills is gradually increasing both in males and females. Although they induce sleep for the short term, they are not a good choice. Always take these drugs with physician advice. Sometimes, physicians prescribe these drugs. In this case, they should be used for a limited time.
Alcohol, cannabis and other drugs of abuse also decrease the quality of sleep.
Rule 7: Don’t fight for sleep
Sometimes we make unyielding and undue efforts to induce sleep. We became much angry on minor issues such as; “why did you turn light on?” “Why did you make a noise”? “don’t you see that I am trying to sleep”, etc. In addition, we are changing postures on the bed but the sleep is far away.
There is no need to be obsessed with falling asleep. If you are not able to sleep properly at night, it’s ok. Don’t waste time on the bed. Get up and involve some other activities
Sleep Inducing Technique
Here is a useful and easy technique for inducing sleep:
During the second half of the evening, you have to wind down your routine before going to bed as sleep may not be induced by merely dressing in nightclothes: Lets’ see how can we do it:
Relaxation in bed can be carried out by the use of these points: (1) Focus on your breathing. (2) First, tense and then relax your muscles. Do this relaxation slowly avoid over-tensing of muscles. (3) Keep practicing. For details see relaxation technique
Another important tip to keep your mind free of thoughts is to count slowly in reverse order, for example, 100, 99, 98, 97, 96 and so on. If you reach 1 then start from 100 again.
If you are not able to sleep in 15 to 20 mins, then get up from the bed and to some activities already mentioned
Take-Home Message for Good Sleep