World Sleep Day is observed on March 17, and it’s a time when awareness about sleep health is created. We often hear medical experts emphasising on the importance of sleep. After all, if we get inadequate sleep, it can interfere with our normal mental, physical, emotional, and social functioning. While some might have a disorder, others can blame their bad sleeping habits for no good night’s rest. It’s time to break bad sleeping habits if you want to be healthy. Read on to how you can spot unhealthy habits.
HealthShots consulted Dr Navneet Sood, Senior Consultant – Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine at Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi to find out all about sleeping habits that are bad for your health.
Importance of eight hours of sleep every night
Doctors always suggest people to have at least eight hours of sleep every night. That’s because sleep is crucial for overall health and well-being, says Dr Sood. When you sleep, your body works by repairing and rejuvenating itself. Your brain consolidates memories and processes information.
As for chronic sleep deprivation, it has been linked to health problems like:
• Cardiovascular disease
Bad sleeping habits
If you have some bad sleeping habits, you should avoid them. Here are some of them:
1. Using electronic devices before bed
The blue light emitted by electronic devices like smartphones, computers and tablets can suppress the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, and disrupt the circadian rhythm, says the expert. This can reduce the quality of your sleep and make it harder for you to fall asleep.
2. Consuming caffeine late in the day
Drinking caffeine before sleeping? Don’t do it, as it is a stimulant that can interfere with sleep, which is why it is better to have it in the morning. Drinking coffee, tea, or soda late in the day can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
3. Irregular sleep schedule
Going to bed and waking up at different times every day can disrupt the circadian rhythm and make it harder to fall asleep and wake up. It is important to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
4. Eating heavy meals before bedtime
Eating a heavy meal before bedtime can cause discomfort and make it harder to fall asleep. It is recommended to eat dinner at least a few hours before bedtime.
5. Exercising too close to bedtime
Exercise can help promote sleep, but doing vigorous ones too close to bedtime, can make it harder to fall asleep. So, finish exercising at least a few hours before bedtime.
Tips to improve sleep quality
People can improve their sleep by doing the following:
1. Establish a consistent sleep schedule
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends, can help regulate the circadian rhythm and improve the quality of sleep.
2. Create a relaxing bedtime routine
Taking a warm bath, reading a book, or listening to soothing music can help to calm your mind and prepare your body for sleep.
4. Create a comfortable sleep environment
Sleeping in a cool, dark, and quiet room can promote better sleep. It’s also a good idea to invest in a comfortable mattress and pillow.
5. Avoid stimulating activities before bedtime
Avoid using electronic devices and consuming caffeine before bedtime to promote better sleep.
6. Exercise regularly
Regular physical activity can help to improve sleep quality and duration. It is recommended to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, but not too close to bedtime, says the expert.
7. Manage stress
Stress and anxiety can interfere with sleep, so practice relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing.
You can try these ways to have a sound sleep, but if you still find it difficult, it’s best to talk to your doctor to avoid complications.