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Sleep Hygiene: what is it and why do you need it?

Alberta Health Services Logo. (File Photo)

It’s no secret that sleep is important to someone’s health and wellness.

According to Alberta Health Services (AHS), “Sleep profoundly impacts our physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and is just as vital to our health as a balanced diet and exercise.”

Something that people can do to keep themselves healthy is to practise good sleep hygiene.

“Sleep hygiene is a term that encompasses a set of practices, habits, or routines that can help you achieve restful, high-quality sleep each and every night,” notes a recent AHS media release.

“By adopting good sleep practices and making them part of your daily routine, you can support your body and mind in functioning at their best.”

A good night’s sleep can have an effect on just about all aspects of the human body. While you sleep, the body repairs and rejuvenates. Sleep aids the immune system, helps people maintain a healthy weight, good heart health and helps keep minds sharp and clear.

To get the best sleep possible, AHS has some tips:

-Create a Consistent Schedule – Anchor your wake-up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Consistency, particularly with the time that you wake up, helps regulate your body’s internal clock.

-Create a comfortable sleep environment – Ensure your bedroom is conducive to sleep. This means a cool, dark, and quiet room with a comfortable mattress and pillows.

-Limit screen time – The blue light from screens can disrupt your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Avoid screens at least an hour before bedtime.

-Be mindful of your diet – Avoid heavy or spicy meals, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime, as they can interfere with your sleep.

-Exercise regularly – Engaging in physical activity during the day can help you sleep better at night. However, try to finish exercising at least a few hours before bedtime.

-Relaxation techniques – Consider trying relaxation methods in a quiet area of your home such as deep breathing, meditation, or gentle stretches to calm your mind if you find yourself wakeful when you would like to sleep.

-Switch it up! – Try to avoid lying awake in bed if you remain wakeful despite trying to sleep. Sometimes, leaving the bedroom to do something relaxing in a low-light environment and returning to bed when sleepy can help to improve sleep continuity.

-Limit Naps – While short power naps can be rejuvenating, long or irregular daytime naps can disrupt your sleep patterns.

“Sleep hygiene is a cornerstone of our health and well-being,” continues the release.

“By adopting good sleep practices and making them a part of your daily routine, you can enjoy the numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits of a well-rested life. Prioritizing sleep hygiene is an investment in yourself and your future, and it’s a simple yet effective way to enhance your quality of life.”