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Sleep Hygiene

In today’s fast -paced world, where most of us follow a hectic and tiresome routine, we hardly find time to pause and take a breath. We deprive ourselves of a routine integral to good health - sleep. Sleep is a natural state of rest, an adequate amount of which is required by us for our biological functioning and well-being. Getting the required amount of sleep is vital for our body to rebuild tissues, replenish cells, and reclaim lost energy. But, unfortunately, its importance is ignored by many, especially adolescents.

Studies show that about 73-85% of the adolescent population does not get the recommended amount of sleep per day. There are various possible reasons for poor sleep hygiene. Time spent on college course work, a few extra-curricular activities, plus the downtime spent every day watching Netflix or YouTube or chatting with friends, and a normal amount of procrastination, together add up to a typical student getting an average of only between 5 and 7 hours of sleep per day. Throw in an assessment paper or an intense exam week, and the average can easily drop to 3 or 4 hours of sleep per day.  This can have drastic effects on a teenager’s life, impacting their mental stability, increasing their risk of depression and anxiety. It can also affect their academic performance.

It is very important that we maintain proper sleep hygiene to lead a long and healthy life. The amount of sleep required varies depending upon the age group one belongs to. The recommended amount of sleep is:

  • Toddlers (4 to 12 months) : 12 to 16 hours

  • Toddlers (1-2 years) : 11 to 14 hours

  • Preschoolers (3-5 years) : 10 to 13 hours

  • School-age (6 to 12 years) : 9 to 12 hours

  • Teenagers (13-18 years) : 8 to 10 hours

  • Adults (including old age) : 7 to 9 hours

Poor lifestyle habits are a hindrance to a good night's sleep, and correcting them will help one have a better sleep cycle. Maintaining decent sleep hygiene is all about putting ourselves in the best situation possible, so that we sleep well every night.

To make quality sleep feel more automatic, it is important to start optimizing our sleep schedule and daily routine. List of some good habits to include in your daily routine to have a good sleep are:

  1. Use your bed only for sleeping and not for studying or eating.

  2. Maintain a regular bedtime and try to prevent yourself from falling asleep earlier or later.

  3. Avoid foodstuffs containing caffeine, cheese or chocolate before bedtime.

  4. Avoid screen time (mobiles, computers, laptops, tablets) at least an hour before your bedtime.

  5. Take a shower in lukewarm water before going to bed.

  6. Try listening to songs other than your usual favorites or listen to sounds of nature.

  7. Try to keep your bed clean, neat and clutter-free.

  8. When you are unable to sleep, avoid doing activities that can alert your brain such as exercise or watching television.

  9. If you are unable to fall asleep within 15 to 20 minutes, go into another room and listen to soft music or read something boring until you feel sleepy.

  10. Set an alarm and wake up at the same time every morning, irrespective of the amount you sleep you got that night. This will help your body acquire a consistent sleep rhythm.

  11. Try not to have an overly full or an empty stomach as both have been shown to negatively impact the quality of sleep.

  12. Contrary to popular belief, technology can also be used to your advantage to improve your sleep health. There are many sleeping aids and gadgets available. They are non-invasive in nature and help monitor your sleep pattern and can also aid in your sleeping well.

Neglecting proper sleeping habits has been known to cause major health problems associated with the heart, cognitive and psychiatric comorbidities. The change in an individual’s core behavior serves as a significant step in optimizing the quality, quantity and timing of their sleep. You can tailor the above-mentioned tips to fit your circumstances and create your own sleep hygiene checklist to help get the best sleep possible.



Tagged in : Sleep, lifestyle, HYGIENE,