Sleep arrives in response to a delicate balance of hormones that shut off your mind and sink you deep into slumber. These hormones that induce and maintain sleep are released in response to external triggers in your environment. Creating such an environment is called sleep hygiene and is essential for those of you who struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep and wake refreshed.
Here are 5 ways to promote healthy sleep hygiene.
No set temperature is ideal for inducing sleep because we are all individuals and responds to heat and cool differently. That being said, keeping the body under 21 degrees celsius while sleeping may reduce the release of wakeful hormones. To ensure your comfort, avoid certain synthetic fibres that can interact with your body temperature in more extreme ways. This making you hotter or cooler than expected or may even cause you to sweat. When in doubt, stick to pure, natural fibres for your bedding. According to sleep expert Nick Littlehales, it is best to use breathable bedding fabrics to help regulate your temperature.
2.Clean, fresh air
You often hear about outdoor pollutants, such as fumes from cars and factories, however, indoor air also needs to be cleaned and purified! Indoor pollutants come from dust mites, paint fumes, moulds and dead skin. To help keep the air fresh in your bedroom keep windows and doors open throughout the day. Ensure you regularly vacuum under your bed and dust shelves. To clean the air of indoor paint fumes you can decorate your room with air-purifying plants like the succulent Mother-In-Law’s Tongue or Dracaena. These are indoor plants that require minimal care and are attractive to the eye.
3.Matters of your mattress
How much do you know about your mattress? What factors did you consider when purchasing the mattress you (and your partner) sleep on every night? Mattresses are an expensive purchase and it is hard to know what you are looking for. It is best to find a mattress that has a removable, washable cover and is made from hypoallergenic fibres. This is to prevent dust mites aggravating your airways while you sleep. This is a beneficial idea for everyone not just those with allergies. It is best to have a mattress that is more on the firm side and still comfortable for you. Softer mattresses have shown to aggravate neck and back problems causing pain and disturbed sleep. Oh, and just because it is more expensive, this does not mean it is the best! It is advised to buy a more affordable mattress and replace it every few years.
4.Light and Dark of sleep
Make sure your bedroom is blackout dark and reduce your late-night exposure to artificial light to ensure you stay asleep undisturbed. Exposure to changes in light and dark have a direct impact on your sleep. To fall asleep and stay asleep your body releases a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin is released in response to dark lighting. Whereas bright lighting (natural or artificial) stimulates your body to produce and increase your levels of the wakeful hormone serotonin. It is a good idea to switch to dim lighting 90 minutes before bed and keep your screens (TVs, phones and laptops) out of the bedroom. Keeping this in mind it is important to then expose yourself to natural sunlight first thing in the morning to help wake you up and for your body to release serotonin.
5.Reduce your alcohol intake
Yes, alcohol does interact with adenosine, a chemical that can induce sleep. So that last glass of wine can send you off to sleep. But while you’re sleeping your body is processing and detoxifying this glass of wine. Then, when the alcohol is leaving your body, it stimulates you to wake up earlier than your body needs. If you struggle with waking up before you have completely rested, try giving up drinking alcohol and observe the difference. There are many other health and financial benefits to not drinking alcohol every night.
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