The importance of maintaining good sleep hygiene on one’s overall health and well-being

 Maintaining healthy sleep hygiene is essential for over-all health and well-being. While sleeping is something that each one of us do as a part of our day to day living, only a handful of people are aware of what comprises a good sleep hygiene and its importance.

Sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices that are necessary to have normal, quality nighttime sleep and full daytime alertness. The most important sleep hygiene measure is to regulate ones sleep timings. So waking up and sleeping at around the same time each day, seven days a week is ideal. One must also sleep for the right number of hours as per their body requirement, not too little, or too excessive.

Your daily routines – what you eat and drink, the medications you take, how you schedule your days and how you choose to spend your evenings – can significantly impact your quality of sleep. Even a few slight adjustments can, in some cases, mean the difference between sound sleep and a restless night.

Speaking about the importance of sleep hygiene, Padma Shri Awardee Dr. A MarthandaPillai – National President and Padma Shri Awardee Dr. KK Aggarwal – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement said, “Majority of the Indian population remains unaware of the fact that common ailments such as obesity, depression, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease are all linked to an irregular sleep pattern. Sleep deprivation also is a key influencer of stressed relationships, decreased performance at school and work, accidental injuries, memory and cognitive impairment and a poor quality of life. It is thus essential that awareness be raised about good sleep habits and the importance of getting adequate sleep on a daily basis. The present generation is mostly found sleeping only for 3-5 hours in a day and then compensating their sleep requirements by sleeping for 14 hours on the weekends. This is extremely dangerous for their overall health. They also depend on caffeine and energy drinks to stay awake, which impact their overall cognitive ability. The time has come for each one of us to be cautious about the impact our day to day actions have on our health and take necessary preventions.”

A few practices which indicate a goodsleep hygiene include
• Get up at the same time every day
• Create a sleep sanctuary
• Reserve your bedroom for sleep and intimacy.
• Banish the television, computer, smartphone or tablet, and other diversions from bedroom’
•Nap only if necessary. Taking a nap at the peak of sleepiness in the afternoon can help to supplement hours missed at night. But naps can also interfere with your ability to sleep at night and throw your sleep schedule into disarray.
• If you need to nap, limit it to 20 to 30 minutes.
•Avoid caffeine after noon, and go light on alcohol.
• Caffeine can stay in your body for up to 12 hours.
•Alcohol can act as a sedative, but it also disturbs sleep.
•Get regular exercise, but not within three hours of bedtime.
• Exercise acts as a short-term stimulant.
• Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day — at the very least, on weekdays. If need be, use weekends to make up for lost sleep.