Healthy sleep is sleep which restores and energises you so you feel wide awake, dynamic and energetic all day long.
A good night’s sleep is not merely the hours spent asleep. In reality, there are three elements of quality sleep: 1) duration, or the length of sleep, 2) continuity, which is sleeping without fragmentation, and 3) depth, meaning sleep is deep enough to be restorative.
Without healthy sleep, consequences range from daytime fatigue and sleepiness to significant health problems, such as diabetes, a weakened immune system and even some cancers.
Required sleep duration is different for each person, but current guidelines recommend at least seven hours of sleep for adults.
Tips for better sleep
First, assess the number of hours allotted for sleeping. Required sleep duration is different for each person, but current guidelines recommend at least seven hours of sleep for adults. Maintain a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time throughout all days of the week.
Next, address the cause of poor sleep continuity and mid-night wakeups. Restorative sleep is the goal. Sleep disorder sufferers sometimes report sufficient hours spent asleep, but if they are not reaching optimum REM sleep, they do not wake feeling refreshed. World Sleep Society has created a list of healthy habits for healthy sleep, including:
- Establish regular sleep and wake times.
- Avoid light from smartphones and tablets near bedtime.
- Reserve the bedroom environment for sleep and sex only, avoiding work or study.
- If you do not fall asleep in 20 minutes, leave the bedroom and return to bed when tired so your body will begin to associate the bedroom environment for sleep only.
- Exercise regularly.
- Do not exceed 30 minutes of daytime sleep or napping.
- Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion four hours before bedtime.
- Do not smoke.
- Avoid caffeine six hours before bedtime.
- Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods four hours before bedtime. A light healthy snack before bed is acceptable.
Better sleep is possible by creating healthy sleep habits. If you are still unable to achieve good sleep after following these suggestions, consider visiting a sleep specialist.
World Sleep Day
World Sleep Society, a membership organisation with a mission to advance sleep health worldwide, hosts an annual awareness day to promote a better understanding of sleep’s important place as a pillar of health. To celebrate healthy sleep and help others learn about sleep’s vast importance, become a delegate of World Sleep Day–on 19th March 2021.