From healing traumatic brain injuries to storing the memory of newly learned material, sleep is essential to a number of brain functions with healthy adults needing between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, as per National Sleep Foundation guidelines. This includes people over 65 years of age while babies, young children and teenagers require longer hours of sleep to enable their growth and development.
To say that sleep is not a priority for all of us would be a lie but the larger truth is that most of us lack the plan to make this goal a reality. On World Sleep Day, which this year is being observed on March 19, we are listing 5 guaranteed tips that will not only ensure that you relish a deep slumber at night but also make sure that you are more energetic and productive during your waking hours:
1. Right pillow – Choose a pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck and is not too fat or not too flat. This will help you wake up without being tired or with a stiff neck in the morning.
2. Sleeping position – To not twist your neck, avoid sleeping on your stomach. Instead, sleep on your side with your nose up with the center of your body.
3. Good mattress – A good mattress such as spring mattress, foam mattress, coir mattress, memory foam mattress, orthopedic mattress etc is crucial in achieving a sound sleep because it not only improves sleep quality but also reduces back pain, shoulder pain and back stiffness with the right support to the body that reinforces an uninterrupted sleep. On the other hand, you can also use air-tight, plastic, dust-proof covers to seal your mattress, box springs and pillows against mold, dust mite droppings, and other allergy triggers that can lead to lousy shut-eye.
4. Eat and drink fluids wisely – While it is advisable to finish eating dinner at least an hour before bed, it is also recommended to not overload your digestive system with heavy foods and big meals before sleeping. Instead, opt for a light evening snack as it will affect how well you sleep at night.
Although hydration is vital, it is wise to not drink any fluids 1–2 hours before going to bed. This is to reduce the chances of excessive urination during the night which affects sleep quality and daytime energy.
5. Lower the lights – Optimize your bedroom environment by dimming the light levels around your home 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. Diminishing the noise and lights and making the bedroom a quiet, relaxing, clean and enjoyable place signals the brain to make melatonin which is the hormone that brings on sleep and results in improved sleep quality that ensures long-term health benefits.
World Sleep Day is observed annually on the Friday before Spring Vernal Equinox of each year to not only celebrate the benefits of good and healthy sleep but to also create awareness about sleep disorders by drawing attention towards the medical, educational and social aspects of sleep problems. Organized by the World Sleep Day Committee of World Sleep Society, World Sleep Day aims to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders.