15 simple rules to help you get enough sleep and avoid…

Health Tips

“Sleep hygiene” and its universal rules

Sleep hygiene is a set of rules, the observance of which ensures proper, healthy sleep. It’s not only about how we sleep, it’s about preparing for sleep, about the duration of sleep, about a properly organized sleeping place. All these factors affect the quality of our sleep. “The benefits of sleep hygiene are questionable in clinical settings, but have good potential to improve sleep and promote health in the general population. In other words, good behavior is not enough to treat insomnia and correct other sleep disorders. But to maintain a healthy lifestyle and reduce the risk of major life-threatening diseases, that’s it, ”explained Yulia Verklova.

Sleep scientists have developed a universal list of rules that are recommended to follow to ensure healthy sleep:

  1. Maintain a strict sleep schedule – get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or while on vacation.
  2. Sleep at least 7-8 hours.
  3. The bed is just for sleep and sex.
  4. Don’t go to bed if you don’t want to sleep.
  5. If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed.
  6. Before going to bed, do not work, do not think about problems.
  7. Keep the bedroom quiet.
  8. Ventilate the bedroom before going to bed and keep the temperature cool.
  9. Avoid bright lights before bed.
  10. Turn off electronic devices and gadgets at least 30 minutes before bed.
  11. Try not to eat before bed.
  12. Exercise and eat right.
  13. Do not consume caffeine at the end of the day or in the evening.
  14. Avoid drinking alcohol before bed.

Each of us, of course, has his own individual ritual of preparing for sleep: someone likes to read a book, someone falls asleep perfectly with a movie, for someone a glass of wine is a good way to calm down, and someone relaxes in a warm bath. Whether your rules are useful or harmful is up to you, of course. But in order for your sleep to be full and healthy, we still recommend that you take a closer look at the universal list developed by somnologists and pick up a few items that are right for you.

Chronotype and “social jet lag” – is there a relationship

The main difference between “larks” and “owls” is the peak time of activity, this is called the chronotype. In a more scientific language, the chronotype is the individual characteristics of the daily rhythms of the human body. According to the book by psychologist Michael Breus The Power of When (translated from English – “Always on time”), there are 4 chronotypes:

  • “Bears” are most of us, those who fall asleep after sunset and wake up after sunrise.
  • “Lions” go to bed before sunset and get up before dawn.
  • “Wolves” are the prototype of “owls”, the peak of activity of which occurs in the afternoon, and they are completely incapacitated in the morning.
  • Dolphins are people with a complete lack of a regular sleep schedule.

Knowing your chronotype, of course, will help to create a suitable sleep and wake schedule for yourself, but this will go against our social life.

This is “social jet lag” – a discrepancy between the individual biological clock and generally accepted social norms. In Russia, this concept is not widely used and this issue is not given due attention. And very in vain, because, if we talk about work, the productivity of employees depends on it.

The recent pandemic and telecommuting have boosted productivity and self-organization for many. We had the opportunity to listen to ourselves, to our biological clock and work according to our chronotype. During peak hours, productivity increases and less time is spent on the same amount of work.

The truth is that most people’s social jet lag isn’t all that great and fluctuates within the hour. Less than 20% of external and internal time diverges by two hours, and quite a few – by three. Common sense dictates that it’s much more hygienic to find a job closer to home and agree to start at 11:00 instead of 9:00 (and finish two hours later, respectively) than to force yourself to go to bed and get up, overcoming the natural predisposition. But, unfortunately, such an opportunity is not always available and not every leader will agree to such conditions.

Perhaps in the future, the analysis of working capacity and productivity according to the chronotype will lead to the decision to introduce a shift work schedule that is convenient for each chronotype. In the meantime, go to bed early and don’t forget to set your alarm!

The book “Healthy lifestyle. Do you need it? How the rules of a healthy life are changing” became the winner of the “Doctor” TV channel’s literary award on health and medicine “Healthy Mind” in 2021.

Photo: freepik

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