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Good Sleep Hygiene to Prevent Insomnia

woman in bed with insomnia

Many people these days are finding it hard to go to sleep at night.

Difficulty sleeping may stem from factors known as “poor sleep hygiene.” According to Dr. Sunil Matthews, medical director of the Sleep Center at Baylor Medical Center at Irving, Texas, these factors which include stress, caffeine, alcohol, and watching TV in bed, comprise the primary reasons why many people find it hard to turn off their bodies during bedtime.

Because of the sleeping problems arising from poor sleep hygiene; many people tend to resort to another unhealthy habit — taking sleep-inducing medications to promote sleep. But these drugs could affect your alertness level the following day, thereby disrupting your performance and productivity.

In order to counteract the impact of poor sleep hygiene, you need to develop its positive counterpart – good sleep hygiene. And to help you do that, Matthews has given the following recommendations:

Develop a relaxing routine.

You may do that by engaging in a relaxation technique like yoga, meditation or biofeedback. You may also try drinking a glass of warm milk with a dash of nutmeg.

Do not engage in workouts within four hours of bedtime.

Although regular exercise has a stress-reliving effect, it also increases core body temperature, which can further contribute to sleeping difficulty.

Avoid anything with caffeine, alcohol or sugar-rich products within eight hours of bedtime.

These are stimulants which will tend to keep sleep at bay. Most people try to compensate their daytime drowsiness by taking caffeinated beverages, but this will only add to more difficulty sleeping at night, leading to a nasty cycle of sleeping problems or insomnia.

Always keep your sleeping area dim, cool, quiet and comfortable. These qualities can make your bedroom conducive for a relaxing sleep.

As much as possible, stick to your sleep schedule even during weekends or holidays.

While it can be tempting to stay up late with friends or watch your favorite late-night TV shows, this can also interfere with your desire to develop good sleep hygiene.

If you have TV in your bedroom, you may do better to move it somewhere and just devote your bedroom to sleep.

Television watching, planning and worrying should be done elsewhere too, so that when you enter your bedroom, your mind and body are already conditioned to go to sleep.

If you are used to sleeping late, you need to adjust your bedtime to keep adequate hours of sleep. You may ask your doctor’s advice regarding this. But most adults perform best with an average of 6 hours of night sleep.

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