What is recommended to do?
Behave in a way that supports sleep: maintain “sleep hygiene”, and if necessary, record sleep in the diary just like any other activity.
What is “sleep hygiene”?
This is a list of instructions, the purpose of which is to promote clean and restful sleep. Activities of ‘do’ and ‘don’t’, seasoned to separate both physically and mentally between day and night. These are the most prominent and leading ones:
Adopt a sleep routine
When referring to the term ‘sleep routine’, it means getting in and out of bed at similar times, the routine helps the brain to regulate and establish sleep. People, who go to bed on weekends at different and extreme hours, both make it difficult for themselves to return to a sleep routine compatible with working hours at the beginning of the week and are at a higher risk of overeating, and therefore obesity with its many consequences. A new study, published in the medical journal International Chronobiology Examine the issue in one of the populations, which is characterized by a large gap between its sleeping hours in the middle of the week compared to the weekend and is a student population. The study found that the greater this gap, the greater the risk of weight fluctuations and an increase in heart disease.
Avoid using your cell phone or computer an hour before bed
Using electronic devices, especially before going to bed, is not recommended for the brain. Lighting, especially its blue light rays, may inhibit the secretion of melatonin (the sleep hormone) and cause the brain to confuse night with day. In addition, the emotional involvement that is created for us from the content in it (mainly following wandering on social networks, but not only) leads to the fact that electronic devices, especially personal ones, have become the number 1 sleep enemy of the 21st century. Make sure to avoid them at least half an hour before going to bed.
Make a separation between day and night
Every parent knows the term ‘sleep ritual’, and its importance in managing sleep in babies and toddlers. A personalized ‘sleep ritual’, which lasts about one to two hours, is a key to good sleep even in adults. The ‘ritual’ helps us make the right transition between day and night. It helps us put aside the events of the day, go to sleep with the right energies, regulate our biological clock and schedule sleep.
Options for a relaxing and supportive ‘sleep ritual’
- Drink a soothing herbal infusion
It is important to reach bedtime without feeling thirsty, but also not to drink excessively in the hours close to sleep, thus increasing the chance of unnecessary awakenings at night. Drinking a glass of liquid about an hour before bed for most people will be the appropriate answer. A number of plants are known in folk medicine as having a beneficial effect before bedtime, and the leading ones are: Chamomile, which is considered a gentle ‘tranquilizer’ and induces sleep, lavender, which is traditionally considered a plant with healing and therapeutic properties, which also strengthen the immune system, and lemon balm, which is widely used in states of wandering sleep
- Write down your chores and worries in a notebook
That way you will be sure, without a shadow of a doubt, that they will be waiting for you tomorrow as well, and you can afford to say goodbye to them for the night, not let them disturb your rest, and return to it tomorrow morning.
- Do a favorite and relaxing activity:
Do you like to draw/paint/knit and don’t find time for it during the day? Here is the perfect time for it. You will also get to do an activity that you like and you don’t have time for, and you will also adjust yourself to the low pace that is right for this time of day.
- Treat yourself to a few minutes of meditation/manipulations/breathing
In a pleasant and restful place (not in bed – this is intended for sleep and sex only) perform your favorite relaxation technique, for the period of time that suits you. Haven’t adopted one yet? This is the time to look for a course or even a podcast on the subject (and there are many, also free), listen and practice a little during the day and after it has been learned and taken root, practice and apply before going to bed.
- read a book
If possible, a real one like this, printed on real pages. And if after a few lines the letters start to jump and blur, that’s an excellent sign. Sign, apparently the reading did its job, and helped you enter the world of sleep.
Bottom line, a good day starts with a good night. Sleep is a natural, free, enjoyable activity that has a tremendous impact on the health of our body and mind. Fatigue is not destiny, and each of us has the choice and the tools for a good and healthy sleep.
Sivan Abbott Bracken, Physiological Dietitian RD MSca certified therapist using the method CBT in insomnia