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Good sleep is a habit.

“Sleep is a biological necessity, good quality sleep is a habit” [1].


We generally assume that we sleep correctly. How could we not? Being this a biological necessity, we should be programmed to do it, especially to do it well. However, this is not the reality. It is estimated that 10% of the population suffers from chronic sleep disorders and that 1 in 3 people have had or will have problems sleeping at some point in their life.


To avoid becoming part of this statistic and prevent these problems (or begin to solve them), below I present seven recommendations that help develop good sleeping habits and obtain quality sleep.

  Schedule it. Just as we schedule work and social events on our planners, it is essential to schedule sleep. The best thing is to set a sleep schedule and commit to it. Doing so will help regulate the circadian rhythm and get better quality of sleep.

•  Make your room a sanctuary, distractions-free. Today, we have become accustomed to making bedrooms multipurpose places. However, the room you sleep in should be a space designed for rest and sleep only. Destining it only for these activities helps us develop a positive association between your bedroom and sleep, which facilitates good sleep.

•  Stay cool. Extreme temperatures make people wake up at night. For this reason, it is recommended to sleep in environments with a temperature between 12 and 24 ° C.

Go into zen mode. Relax! It is easier said than done. However, it is essential to find ways (e.g. essential oils, candles, bubble baths) to disconnect ourselves from everything that happens during the day; otherwise, we will find ourselves lying in bed with our minds at 1,000 miles per hour.

  Be careful with your naps. A little after-lunch nap always sounds good. On the one hand, if we are used to taking naps or power naps to finish the day, it is crucial to keep them shorter than an hour-long before 4 pm. Doing so will prevent us from affecting our bedtime schedule. On the other hand, if you have persistent sleep problems at night, you should avoid them altogether.

• Careful with your coffee intake. We have all experienced the pleasure of a good coffee and the ability it has to tone us up. Also, I know that several of us tend to have multiple cups throughout the day. However, it is necessary to put avoid exceeding our daily doses. Rest assured, it is unnecessary to go into caffeine withdrawal to sleep; however, it is essential to limit its consumption, especially during the afternoon (at least 6 hours before bedtime).

•  Exercise! If you enjoy exercising, you will love this; if not, you might be motivated to do so. Exercise helps us sleep better! Especially cardiovascular exercise (such as walking, running, and swimming) promotes deep sleep. However, it is recommended to exercise at least 4 hours before going to bed, especially when it comes to high-intensity exercises (e.g. running) when you are very sensitive to its stimulating effects.


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Here you have it! Seven recommendations to better your sleep quality. I don't expect you to follow all of them, but I hope you found some helpful tips to play around with and hopefully sleep better.


¡Sweet dreams!



Citations


[1] – Peirano & Algarín, 2017, p. 298.


References

  • Aguirre, A. (2017). Efectos de la privación de sueño. En Viguera (Eds.), Sueño: Fisiología y Medicina (pp. 494 – 516). Murcia, España.: Viguera.

  • Canellas Dols, F., & De Lecea, L. (2017). Estrés, adicciones y trastornos psiquiátricos. Su relación con el sueño. En Viguera (Eds.), Sueño: Fisiología y Medicina (pp. 656-679).Murcia, España.: Viguera.

  • Espie, C. (s.f.). Sleep Basics. Recuperado en septiembre de 2017 de https://www.sleepio.com/articles/sleep-basics/

  • Hauri, P.J. (2012). Sleep/Wake Lifestyle Modifications: Sleep Hygiene. En Barkoukis, T.J. (Ed.), Threapy in Sleep Medicine (pp. 151-159). Phyladelphia, PA.: Elsevier/Saunders.

  • Moti, J.M. (2017). Medidas de higiene, prevención, tratamiento farmacológico y no farmacológico de los trastornos del sueño. En Viguera (Eds.), Sueño: Fisiología y Medicina (pp. 714-745). Murcia, España.: Viguera.

  • Peirano, P. & Algarín, C. (2017).  Ciclo sueño-vigilia, muerte súbita del lactante y episodios aparentemente letales. En Viguera (Eds.), Sueño: Fisiología y Medicina (pp. 263-278). Murcia, España.: Viguera.

  • Posner, D. & Gehrman, P.R. (2011). Sleep Hygiene. En Perlis, M.L., Aloia, M. & Kuhn, B.R. (Eds.), Behavioral treatments for sleep disorders: a comprehensive primer of behavioral sleep medicine interventions (pp. 31–43). Boston, USA.: Academic.

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