Sleep plays a vital role in our well-being. The way we sleep, the duration, the frequency of
waking up and other sleep related issues directly affects our physical and mental health in the
long run. On an average, we spend 30% of our lives asleep. Sleep is a highly complex state that
arises from an interaction between multiple areas of the brain. This complexity makes it prone
to disturbance. Sleep problems are not just limited to not being able to fall
asleep, complete sleep or excessive sleepiness during day time. Long term effects can include
poor memory and vigilance, reduced mental reaction times, depression, obesity, increased blood
pressure, reduced immunity, and even greater risk of cancer.
Though most of us know the importance of sleep, we tend to take it for granted. In fact, only
few people know the correct way to sleep. and even lesser people follow good sleeping habits or
sleep hygiene. So let’s review a few important aspects of sleep hygiene.
What is sleep hygiene?
Our behaviour and day-to-day activities have a major impact on our sleep. Sleep hygiene
a variety of practices, behaviours and habits that are necessary to have a night of good sleep.
It has been proven that following sleep hygiene is the most effective way of treating insomnia.
Why is sleep hygiene important?
It improves physical and mental fitness, productivity at work and hence overall quality of our
What are the signs of poor sleep hygiene?
Frequent sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness are the most common signs. These can in turn
lead to poor work performance, poor progress at schools for children, lack of concentration and
many other problems which seem completely unrelated to sleep.
What age group is this sleep hygiene helpful for?
Sleep hygiene is helpful for all. Both Children and adults can benefit from practising good
Are daytime naps good for health?
Although the answer to this is not clear, it can be safely said that if the daytime naps starts
affecting the night sleep then it is a sure no. However, daytime naps of around 20 - 30 minutes
can help improve mood, alertness and performance. Never take naps after 3 pm in the evening. It
is worth noting that daytime naps cannot compensate for the inadequate night time sleep.
Is it right to have a TV in our bedrooms?
No. Bright light emitted from the TV can affect your sleep and also your ability to fall
asleep. This is true for mobile phones too.
What other tips can I follow to improve my sleep?
Follow the same sleep schedule. This means getting up at the same time everyday, even on
Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy. If you cannot fall asleep for about 20 minutes while
you are in bed, get out of your bed. Read a book or listen to some soft music. Go to bed
only when you are sleepy.
You should aim for at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep everyday.
Bedrooms should be quiet and relaxing. This includes comfortable mattresses. Least
disturbances from the noise around, low lights, and a very comfortable temperature.
You should limit exposure to the bright light in the evenings.
Do not eat a large meal before bedtime.
Avoid consuming coffee/tea in late afternoon or evenings.
Avoid consuming alcohol before bedtime.
Avoid cigarette or any other nicotine products before bedtime.
Reduce your fluid intake near bedtime as you have to frequently wake up for toilet visits.
Avoid intense exercise within 6 hours before your bedtime.
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