We spend close to a third of our lives sleeping; we need sleep for our physical, mental and emotional health. The number of hours you sleep is important, but the quality of your sleep is just as important.
Lately, have you been feeling tired, even if you have been getting enough sleep? Sleep requirements vary from one person to another, but adults generally require approximately eight hours of sleep a day on average. Did you know that your sleeping environment, the activities you practise before bedtime and what you consume before sleeping can greatly influence the quality of your sleep? These factors can result in your not feeling rested even after eight hours of sleep.
Various factors can promote proper sleep hygiene, such as:
- Environment. Room temperature, air circulation and noise are some factors that can influence how you sleep. Choose a well-ventilated room that is silent and neither too hot or cold. Bright colours or an untidy room can also affect how you sleep.
- Diet. Avoid eating too heavy a meal in the evening, and wait several hours (2 or 3) after eating before going to bed, if possible. Consuming too much alcohol, caffeine, energy drinks or any other stimulant (nicotine, chocolate, high sugar snacks) after late afternoon is also not advised.
- Physical activity. Burning energy and staying active as much as possible during the day, especially outdoors, helps you get a better night’s sleep. However, intense physical activity just before going to bed may act as a stimulant.
- Stability. Wait until you are truly tired before heading to bed. If at all possible, try to get to bed at approximately the same time each day, and maintain a stable routine (mealtimes, waking up, etc.).
- Mattress and pillow. Replace your old mattress and invest in a good pillow, and you will be surprised at how you can improve the quality of your sleep.
- Naps. It is preferable to avoid taking naps in the afternoon or evening. Naps can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle. If you do take a nap, try to limit it to 15 to 20 minutes.
- Relaxation. Whether it is a nice warm bath or practising a relaxation technique such as meditation, yoga or other technique, take a few minutes to enjoy an activity you like and which helps you to relax. Keep the television and computer far from your bedroom, as they act as stimulants and will prolong how long it takes you to fall asleep.
If you have difficulty sleeping, your pharmacist can provide advice to make life easier for you when it is time to sleep. What’s more, your pharmacist can help you select over-the-counter medication sleep aids, as well as natural sleep aid products. Don’t hesitate to ask your pharmacist for more information about sleeping.
Good sleep hygiene is often just a matter of good sense, and we hope that these useful tips will help you drift off in no time and get a better sleep throughout the night. Don’t forget that a full day is often synonymous with a good night’s sleep, and a good night’s sleep is the next step to a great day!