by Ayushi Singh
National Sleep Awareness Week (March 12-18) highlights the importance of healthy sleep for mental health and well-being. This year’ theme is Sleep is Essential for Health.
So let’s deal with insomnia.
According to the American Psychological Association, “A person with insomnia has trouble falling or staying asleep. When sleepless nights persist for longer than a month, the problem is considered chronic. Often, people with chronic insomnia see the problem come and go, experiencing several days of good sleep followed by a stretch of poor sleep.”
Importance of sleep
Adequate sleep allows our bodies to repair and rejuvenate. Lack of sleep can cause such physical and mental health problems as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and depression. Establishing healthy sleep habits is crucial.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine states that adults sleep at least seven hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health, with most adults needing between seven and nine hours. Children and teens typically need eight to 10 hours of sleep, and adults 65 years and older need between seven and eight hours.
Tips for improving sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene refers to habits that impact sleep quality. To get the best sleep, adopt healthy habits like:
Keep a consistent sleep schedule — Having a consistent sleep schedule improves sleep hygiene by regulating sleep-wake cycle and helping the body sleep more easily and deeply.
Avoid stimulating activities before bed — Avoiding such stimulation before bed as TV or screens helps a person wind down and prepare for sleep. Stimulating activities raise your heart rate and disrupt sleep, making it important to engage in calming activities before bedtime.
Create a sleep-friendly environment — Such an environment also can play a critical role in improving sleep hygiene. This may include:
- Using comfortable, supportive bedding.
- Maintaining a cool, dark and quiet bedroom.
- Investing in a quality mattress and pillow.
- Removing distractions like electronic devices and bright lights.
By creating a peaceful and relaxing sleep environment, we can reduce stress and promote deeper, more restful sleep.
Sleep impacts well-being. The good sleep habits stressed in National Sleep Awareness Week can help all year round.