By Karyne Santiago
On May 24, 2001
The act of sleeping is an inherent basic necessity of every living being. A good night’s sleep helps to improve various physical and emotional aspects. And so, thinking about the importance of the quality of your rest, we invite psychiatrists Nádia Faris (CRM 171243 | RQE 71815) and Renata Melo (CRM 177530 | RQE 90989) to explain us about sleep hygiene. Come check!
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What is sleep hygiene
According to Dr. Renata, “sleep hygiene is a set of measures that we can take to improve quality or some complaints related to sleep. These are measures that involve our routine, and what we must do or avoid in order to get better sleep ”.
Dr. Nádia complements this idea, explaining that sleep hygiene is performed through “techniques taught to patients who seek to control the environment and the behaviors that precede sleep in order to improve the quality and quantity of sleep”.
The practice, which aims to improve sleep habits, is of paramount importance to health. “Today it is known that insomnia increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, risk of suicide, fatigue, increases the risk of absences from work and accidents”, says Nádia.
In addition, as it is a low-cost and non-drug treatment, psychiatrist Renata points out that “these measures can also be adopted by people who do not have complaints related to sleep, as a way to prevent problems with this in the future”, that is , anyone can perform this practice.
Both psychiatrists also state that sleep quality is part of mental health care:
NF: “The loss in quality and quantity of sleep is directly associated with depression, anxiety, irritability and bipolar affective disorder. Taking care of your sleep is taking care of your mental health. ”
RM: “The quality of sleep influences our mood, our concentration and the willingness to do our activities the next day.”
How to practice sleep hygiene
Taking care of sleep also involves taking care of your health as a whole. The inclusion of new habits can help you sleep better. With that in mind, we asked the doctors for some fundamental tips to get a good night’s sleep. Check it out below:
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Create a sleep routine
Both experts say about the importance of establishing a time to sleep and wake up every day. “It is important to try to maintain a regular time to sleep and wake up, even on days off or weekends,” says Dr. Renata. This will help the body to establish an “internal clock”, creating, during the sleep period, a quality rest.
Only go to bed when you are sleepy
According to the psychiatrist Renata, “the ideal is that we try to go to bed only when we are sleepy, when we observe the signs of sleep. It is not recommended to go to bed and “wait” for the sleep signals to arrive ”. In addition, Dr. Nádia advises “to get up and move to another place when the onset of sleep does not occur”.
Beware of electronics
In the age of technology, it is common to acquire the habit of taking cell phones, tablets and / or notebooks to bed. However, Dr. Nádia advises “to limit the use of electronics to 2 hours before starting sleep”. This is because the light radiated by these devices interferes with the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone, which can end up confusing the biological clock in understanding what is day or night.
Avoid eating heavy foods at night
“It is important to avoid very heavy meals 2 hours before bed,” says Dr. Renata. Eating food close to bedtime can make it harder to get to sleep, as digestion naturally involves physical and hormonal processes that can alter our circadian cycle.
Regulate caffeine use
Both doctors indicate limiting caffeine intake before bed, as it can influence the quality of sleep. “Some foods and drinks are stimulating and can make sleep difficult. Thus, coffee, guarana, cola-type soft drinks and some teas should not be taken 4-6 hours before bedtime ”, points out Dr. Renata.
Create a relaxing atmosphere in your room
It may seem obvious, but we often do not give due importance to the warmth that a room needs to have. “Limit activities in bed to sleep and sex”, points out the doctor Nádia, who also says that the room needs to be an “environment conducive to sleep, with adequate mattress and no noise”. In addition, the doctor Renata adds: “the comfort, light, temperature and noise in the room also influence the quality of sleep”.
Beware of naps
Both psychiatrists point out the famous naps. Dr. Renata says “avoiding naps during the day, especially longer naps”. Dr. Nádia, on the other hand, advises that they are “naps of a maximum of 30 minutes, until 3:00 pm”. This attention to naps is due to the fact that they can end up disturbing the quality and quantity of sleep at night.
Enjoy natural light
Psychiatrist Renata advises “to expose yourself to sunlight early in the morning and during the day as well”. Maintaining this habit directly helps in controlling the circadian rhythm, making the body understand when it needs to be alert and when it can rest.
You do not need to include all of these habits in your routine at once. Try to gradually change your routine and understand your body and your sleep. “We can improve our sleep routine little by little, based on the measures I mentioned, trying to improve or implement something better every day, in this routine”, says Dr. Renata.
However, it is also important to note that, although sleep hygiene methods are effective for many people, there are cases that require professional assistance. “Adopting sleep hygiene measures can help many people, but if it is difficult for you to adopt these measures or if even if you do not sleep well, seek help,” says Renata.
A good night’s sleep is essential for quality of life. If you have been having trouble sleeping, you may want to reevaluate your daily habits and even understand a little more about insomnia.