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April 17, 2021

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Ten things to do to achieve healthy sleep

3 min read


The World Sleep Day (WSD) is commemorated on March 11-13 every year to raise awareness about the importance of healthy sleep.

Created and hosted by the World Sleep Society, WSD is dedicated to spreading awareness about all aspects of sleep including the importance of getting good sleep, sleep medicines and social aspects of sleep problems.

The theme for the 2021 WSD is ‘Regular Sleep, Healthy Future’ and is a call to all sleep professionals to advocate and educate the world about the importance of sleep for achieving an optimal quality of life and improve global health.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine found that healthy sleep reduces the risk of a long list of health problems—including obesity, hypertension, depression, and Alzheimer’s.

Insufficient sleep has been linked to car crashes, poor work performance and problems with mood and relationships, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

“Sleep deprivation also raises the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, and stroke.”

With several concerns about the implication of lack of good sleep, the American Psychological Association highlights the following steps as helpful in changing unhealthy habits and improving your sleep.

1.Maintain a regular exercise routine. Research shows that exercise increases total sleep time, particularly the slow-wave sleep that’s important for body repair and maintenance. However, don’t exercise too late in the day. Working out close to bedtime can boost energy levels and body temperature, making it harder to fall asleep.

2. Create a relaxing sleep environment. Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and as quiet as possible and keep electronics such as a computer, TV, and phones out of the bedroom. Exposure to stimulating objects and lights from computer and TV screens can affect levels of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your body’s internal clock.

3. Don’t discuss or deal with stressful or anxiety-inducing situations right before bedtime. Just as exercise can increase energy levels and body temperature, discussing difficult topics will increase tension and may provoke a racing heartbeat. Protect the quality of your sleep by dealing with any stressful topics long before bedtime.

4. Set a sleep schedule. Maintain a regular sleep routine. Go to bed and get up at the same times each day, even on the weekends. Don’t go to bed too early. If you hit the sack before you’re sleepy, you may lie in bed awake and start to feel anxious. That will only make it more difficult to drift off.

5. Limit naps. Late afternoon naps can interfere with nighttime slumber.

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6. Avoid late night meals and alcohol consumption. Skip heavy meals before bed, and limit alcohol. Even if a cocktail seems to help you fall asleep, it can interfere with sleep quality and disrupt sleep later in the night.

7. Curb nicotine and caffeine use. These stimulants can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep, especially if consumed late in the day.

8. Schedule down time before bed. Setting aside time to unwind and quiet your mind will help you get into a sleepy state of mind. Meditating, breathing exercises, taking a bath and listening to relaxing music are great ways to calm down at night.

9. Don’t check the clock. Tallying how much sleep you’re losing can create anxiety and make it harder to fall asleep.

10. Take notes. If you can’t stop the stream of thoughts, get up and write them down. Tell yourself you can check the list in the morning, so there’s no need to keep worrying tonight.

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