This sleep business has some funny jargon, I’ve been discovering. It took me a while to find out that sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnoea as the NHS puts it was a particularly acute type of snoring* then people keep banging on about ‘sleep hygiene’.
What on earth did they mean? Grubby sheets, failure to shower before bedtime, dust under the bed? No – turns out it refers to your pre-sleep routine or basically good bedtime habits that will promote a restful night’s sleep
These are pretty well catalogued if you look at any sleep site but rather harder to put into practice
* having a comfortable bed with a pillow that suits the way you sleep and appropriate bedding for the time of year (i.e. not too heavy in summer)
* having a cool, well-ventilated room and curtains or blinds that block out natural light and keeping the lights low before bed-time
* having a regular bedtime and waking-up time so your body knows when to go to sleep. These should enable you to get enough sleep: opinions differ on this but in the region of 7-8 hours
* avoiding drinks that are high in caffeine, particularly strong coffee, from early afternoon onwards
* avoiding drinking too much alcohol (that’s obviously good for other reasons) especially just before bed
* avoiding heavy meals in the evening, again particularly close to bedtime
* not catching up on sleep late in the day. A short post-lunch nap is OK but not a 5pm crash-out
* taking some outdoor exercise during the day – preferably before or straight after work rather than in the evening
* and – probably most important of all – switching off all electronic devices including tablets and phones at least an hour before bed-time. That apparently includes watching TV in bed 😦
Daunting, huh? But possible as I outlined in an earlier post though there are still a number of aspects I’m working on ….
There’s a useful longer post on the patient.co.uk website.
*although there is a critical difference according to this very informative NHS video
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