You charge your phone every day, right?
If you don’t, your phone runs out of battery, and buzzes with a notification that warns you it’ll shut off in 30 seconds. You then run to save your phone’s life so you can continue using it, without needing to wait a couple of minutes that seem to last forever.
Your brain is no different. Your brain needs 7-8 hours of recharge. The only way you can refill the battery of your brain is through sleep. The question is, are you getting enough sleep to recharge your brain well enough to perform at your highest capability?
Does this happen to you? You wake up, feeling jittery, decide to snooze the alarm “for 5 mins”, and get up with 0 motivation to get through the day? Do you often find yourself reading, and rereading a sentence twice to grasp the idea? Do you find it difficult staying focused on one task without feeling bored and irritated? Do you feel generally tired at any time of the day, even if you didn’t do any physical activity? And worst of all, do you struggle to fall asleep?
Have you answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions? Then you’re not getting the required sleep to charge your device (your brain). That’s okay! This is the purpose of this article. If you follow the tips laid out in this e-book to the end, you will relax, destress, and finally sleep!
What is Sleep Hygiene & the types of sleep?
Sleep Hygiene is all the series of activities and habits you perform throughout the day, that affects the quality of your sleep, according to SleepEducation.org.
Healthy Sleep Hygiene can put your brain on sleep mode like a push of a button. You need to follow healthy habits and practices for healthy Sleep Hygiene. This article will help you develop better habits to get the sleep you’ve been longing for.
There are two types of sleep:
- Non-REM sleep
It would be best if you got both in your sleep. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement, and Non- REM is for the Non-Rapid Eye Movement. Your dreams occur during REM sleep. REM Sleep is vital as it activates the parts of your brain responsible for learning, retaining information, and making memories. Non-REM sleep is essential as this is where deep sleep occurs, the one that charges your brain and repairs tissues and relaxes your muscles.
Non-REM sleep is essential as this is where deep sleep occurs, the one that charges your brain and repairs tissues and relaxes your muscles.
Related post: How to Sleep Better at Night Naturally
What does healthy Sleep Hygiene look like?
Imagine you sleep at 10 PM and wake up at 6 AM
- At 7:00 pm, you have the last meal/food for the day
- At 8:00 pm, you avoid blue lights by turning on f.lux or any other app that blocks blue lights
- At 9:00 pm, you take a hot bath that relaxes you and drops your body temperature
- At 9:30 pm, you drink Chamomile tea
- At 9:55 pm, you leave the curtains slightly open
- At 10 pm sharp, you get into bed
Why should you do all those actions and make them your daily habits?
Eating 2-3 hours before bed is crucial. It leaves enough time for your brain to avoid spending energy on breaking down food. By doing this, your brain gets a chance to work less.
The device you’re currently reading this short e-book on is emitting blue light. This light is harming your sleep quality. The blue light tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. Thus, it’s not time to fall asleep. That’s no problem, though. Set a curfew on when you will stop using devices. Consider using an app called f.lux. Or search the term ‘night light’ on your computer, and you’ll be able to tinker with the lights and block the blue light, and instead, get an orange-reddish screen color. Take a hot bath 60-90 mins before going to bed. Taking a warm, hot shower before bed can help you fall asleep 10 mins quicker.
Having a cup of Chamomile Tea before bed triggers the good, deep sleep that your body so badly desires. Chamomile has been used for centuries to treat anxiety and insomnia. There is a link between Sleep and Apigenin, the natural product in the chamomile.
Try to open the curtains a bit. The light coming from the windows will help you wake up naturally to the sunlight. The alarm that goes off in the morning releases stress hormones in your body. The natural sunlight wakes you up gently, with a breeze.
Lastly, get into bed at 10 P.M. sharp, no exceptions. The best way to maintain healthy Sleep Hygiene is to abide by a strict sleeping schedule firmly. Once it’s bedtime, it’s bedtime! You get into bed. Over time, this will become a habit, and your body will get used to it, so adapt to sleep at this specific time.
Adenosine vs Caffeine
Your brain releases a chemical called Adenosine that grants you the wish to sleep. In other words, it’s like the air traffic controller for directing you to go to sleep. According to Matthew Walker, author of ‘Why We Sleep,’ you can mute the air traffic controller from telling you when to sleep by Caffeine.
Caffeine battles Adenosine, much like a professional boxer punching a boxing bag. It doesn’t give Adenosine a break. Even if your brain is sending you constant reminders to land your body on your bed and sleep. Caffeine has a half-life of 5-6 hours. It would take your body an average of 10-12 hours to completely get rid of the caffeine effects. Having coffee even at lunch break can disrupt the quality of your sleep! Caffeine poses an opportunity cost for all coffee lovers. Caffeine is also present in dark chocolate, some teas, chocolate cakes, puddings, ice cream and even decaffeinated coffee!
Alcohol & Nicotine
Alcohol has a similar effect. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol won’t give you a better night’s sleep. In fact, It will make things worse. Alcohol reduces REM sleep and disables your ability to learn and maintain memories.
Nicotine can also have a profound effect on your sleep. If possible, try to avoid smoking to the best of your abilities. One study has found that smokers tend to be light sleep- ers and have less deep sleep than nonsmokers.
Exercise & Diet
Doing a physical activity 3-4 times a week could help you fall asleep faster. You don’t have to run a marathon. You just need to elevate your heart rate for as little as 10 minutes a day, and that would count.
Diet is the back-page to exercise. Food can promote sleep. Food that aid sleep includes almonds, plain yogurt, apples, bananas, milk, walnuts, raisins, etc.
Related post: Healthy Sleeping Positions
PEMF stands for Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field. Ongoing research has shown that PEMF can enhance sleep quality. PEMF uses scientific frequencies to ‘balance’ the brain waves into achieving a state of peace and tranquility.
A 4-week double-blind, placebo-controlled study on patients found immense improvements on people with insomnia. PEMF could be a non-invasive way to develop healthy Sleep Hygiene further. PEMF offers a breakthrough method in the Neuroscience world and assures all life-long sleep strugglers of a counter-intuitive way to manage their sleep in a non-invasive way.