HealthSleep right, live better: Essential guide to improving sleep hygiene at home

Sleep right, live better: Essential guide to improving sleep hygiene at home

How to improve your sleep?
How to improve your sleep?
Images source: © Pexels | Anastasiya Vragova

1:33 PM EST, January 21, 2024

Increasing numbers of people are recognizing the positive effects of good sleep. Safe to say, sleep can provide a solution to many of our concerns. It is essential for our physical, psychological, and emotional well-being.

Many studies have affirmed that individuals who guarantee regular sleep are healthier, happier, and more competent in life.

For better sleep, one must adhere to the principles of sleep hygiene. These are specific guidelines that play a crucial role in the quality of sleep.

This involves, for instance, certain practices that help regulate sleep, as explained by Alexander Borbély, the President of the European Sleep Research Society and one of the leading scholars in this field worldwide.

Enhancing Sleep: The Essential Guidelines of Sleep Hygiene

A balanced amount of physical exercise, limited time spent in bed, and avoiding daytime napping can bolster the biological need for sleep.

Maintaining a consistent wake up time every day, sticking to a balanced lifestyle, and exposure to bright light in the evening, with darkness during the day are just as vital.

Such factors strengthen the circadian rhythm, facilitating the feeling of needing sleep at an appropriate time - typically, at night and not during the day.

Other important rules that impact sleep hygiene include:

  • avoiding forced sleep,
  • keeping clocks out of sight in the bedroom,
  • abstaining from caffeine after 4:00 PM,
  • avoiding nicotine and alcoholic beverages,
  • not watching TV before bed,
  • eating dinner at an appropriate time - ideally, the final meal should be eaten 3 hours before bed,
  • steering clear of intense exercise before bed.

Tips to Facilitate Better Sleep

Apart from the aforementioned rules, specialists suggest other helpful tips. Instead of watching TV before bed, reading a book may be a healthier practice. Such activities help you relax, cool down, and effectively soothe the body before sleep. A warm bath can also promote better sleep quality.

Listening to soft, serene music can have a calming effect, as well. This could include songs from favorite artists or specially curated music sets for individuals with sleeping difficulties. It's useful to explore the domain of relaxation music.

Meditation and specially designed relaxation exercises, including physical and breathing exercises, can significantly positively impact sleep quality.

Another effective method is to air out the bedroom before sleeping, as well as using fresh bedding. Even in winter, when temperatures are near freezing, ventilation is still advised.

To sleep well, the temperature of the room should ideally be between 66 and 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit. High temperatures can interfere with falling asleep, and consequently reduce the quality of sleep.

Home Remedies for Good Sleep

In addition to the above strategies, certain herbs can significantly improve sleep quality. Herbal infusion teas can be very effective in treating insomnia.

Lemon balm, lavender, and chamomile are particularly well-known for their sleep-inducing effects. Valerian is another recommended herb. All these herbs are safe to use and offer soothing properties to help unwind after a stressful day.

Warmed milk with a touch of honey can be a calming drink before bed for those who prefer non-herbal remedies.

Medications for Sleep

If home remedies don't produce the desired outcomes and issues with falling asleep or restless sleep persist, one could consider over-the-counter medicine. Most medications for sleep are derived from the aforementioned herbs, yet naturally, they also have a much broader composition.

The most popular pill available without a prescription is Melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that is produced naturally at night and helps in initiating sleep. Light hampers its production, which explains why we generally sleep at night and not during the day. A deficiency in melatonin can lead to sleep disorders.

Other recommended over-the-counter sleep aids include Doxylamine, which typically hastens the process of falling asleep, and Valerian. The extract derived from the root of the Valerian plant can be very effective for sleep.

Aside from over-the-counter meds, there are numerous prescription drugs available as well.

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