Sleep is a basic human need. It is necessary to sleep a minimum number of hours a day and it has to be a quality, repairing sleep, so that our organism can restore itself and be ready to face the next stage of wakefulness.
All the techniques we use to achieve quality and restorative sleep are called sleep hygiene. At WellWo, a healthy company, we have a 1 minute video dose where we give you advice on how to sleep better.
We may not be able to fall asleep due to certain circumstances. There are two categories to distinguish the causes of our insomnia. On the one hand, there is the environment: travel, time changes, seasonal changes, noisy environment, etc. And on the other hand there is the person: sometimes it is oneself who causes insomnia, by following inappropriate habits, by consuming substances that keep us awake, such as coffee, or by a pathology, etc.
It is important to detect the origin of insomnia in order to treat it correctly and get a good rest.
There are 4 measures about sleep hygiene that we have to control: circadian rhythm, physiological changes with age, factors that make us alert or awake and the consumption of substances.
To know if these measures are effective for the person who is putting them into practice, we must follow them for at least 4 or 6 weeks.
Learn the measures of sleep hygiene:
Circadian rhythm: it is the natural sleep cycle, we have one every 24 hours and it coincides with the hours when there is no sun. In the evening we get sleepy and in the morning, usually after 8 hours of sleep, we wake up. At midday we also usually feel like sleeping, it is a physiological effect. We can sleep, but no more than 15 or 20 minutes and never if it has been more than 12 hours since we have woken up. Since it could affect the sleep load we need at night.
We must bear in mind that not everyone needs the same amount of sleep to recover. The time of day when people need sleep also varies, some in the afternoon, some at night and some in the morning.
Age: during childhood we need more hours of sleep. Until the age of 25 we have a greater capacity to initiate sleep at any time of the day. From the age of 40 onwards, a stage of alertness during sleep begins, which means that we have a fragmented and less restful sleep.
Factors that produce alerts: it is everything that prevents us from falling asleep. It can be anything, a worry, stress, the impossibility of disconnecting, etc. Each person must find the technique that helps them avoid these factors and allows them to fall asleep faster.
Substance consumption: there is a large amount of substance that we ingest that can alter our sleep cycles, among them are caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, etc.
Tips to help you fall asleep sooner:
- Do not take substances that stimulate us, such as coffee, tobacco and alcohol. Eat a light dinner and wait one or two hours before going to bed.
- Exercise, but not at the end of the day.
- If we take a nap, do not exceed 20 or 30 minutes and do not take it in the afternoon.
- Be aware of medications that cause insomnia.
- It is important to maintain regular sleep schedules, always getting up and going to bed at the same time, even on weekends.
- Avoid bright light and do mental activities that awaken your brain. Try to maintain the right environment that facilitates the reconciliation of sleep, with the right temperature, without drafts or noise, with relaxing colors …
- Do not eat late, nor in a copious way, nor very caloric dinners (stews, fried, precooked, etc…)
- It is also counterproductive to use mobiles (you should stop using your mobile phone at least one hour before going to bed) and the use of TVs in the bedroom (for before bed) should be prohibited.
- If you need to establish a ritual before going to sleep, such as listening to quiet music, brushing your teeth, a shower with warm water, reading a little, find what helps you most to fall asleep and do it.