There are essential characteristics to getting a good night’s sleep. In other words, the good news it is possible to improve both your quantity and quality of sleep by incorporating some very simple sleep conditions. The collection of all the things that make for a good night’s sleep is called “sleep hygiene.”

Understanding good sleep hygiene is important. It is almost always required to support school-age children. They need the best quality of sleep they can attain in order to perform well both socially and academically. In addition, sleep hygiene may be physician recommended for people coping with obesity, diabetes, heart disease and mental illnesses.

Exactly what constitutes good sleep hygiene may vary according to the viewpoints of assorted physicians. However, most of the components seem to make good, common sense. Therefore it should be fairly simple to ascertain what will work best for you and your family.

First and foremost would be regularity in the time for going to sleep and rising. Typically, you would start with the required rising time, and work backward eight hours, or the recommended time for the person’s age. That will then be designated the time to go to bed. After a few nights of this, there will be a strong indication whether this is too early or too late for a given individual. If by week’s end, the person needs 3-4 hours to catch up on sleep, the nighttime segment was too short. On the other hand, if by week’s end the person is fully rested, but lay awake 45 minutes each night before falling asleep, bedtime could be delayed by half an hour.

Normally, a person falls asleep within 15-20 minutes of lying in bed. Sleeping in for an hour on the weekend is not unusual. Even two might be good for catch up. More than that clearly indicates the individual needs more weeknight sleep.

Next, the environment should gradually become quieter and darker before bedtime—just like the outside world, except in large cities! Dim the lights at home, and engage in something relaxing. Get away from the computer screen and television at least an hour before bedtime, as those devices have not only bright lights but also may stimulate portions of the brain less conducive to sleep. Nature shows on television have been shown to be relaxing, but certainly crime dramas and nightly news are not the best things to put in one’s mind before going to sleep.

The bedroom should be dark and remain dark until it is time to arise. Blackout shades or room darkening blinds made need to be installed if the present window coverings do not make the room dark. It’s human nature to be awake when it’s light and asleep when it is dark. Try making your sleeping room’s light cycle conform to the amount of sleep your body and mind need.

Quietness also supports sound sleep. You may find 10-15 minutes of soft music helps  mask the sounds of your surroundings until you fall asleep, White noise machines are available, but if used, should preferably be placed on a timer so as not to keep a portion of the brain awake all night listening to the white noise. Sometimes an electric fan provides enough white noise and also positive air circulation. I can be aimed at a wall rather than directly toward the bed.

The focus of a bedroom should be the bed and sleep, or sex. The bed should not be used for work, conversation, arguing or other things. If there is a workspace in the bedroom, clean it up and close it or cover it when going to bed. You don’t need the last thing you see out of the corner of your eye as you crawl into bed to be the big pile of work you didn’t finish today and must finish tomorrow.

Keeping the sleeping room cool and well ventilated will also support good sleep. It takes only about 15 minutes for the oxygen in a normal sized bedroom to be used up with one person in the room. Therefore, it is essential to have an open window or some supply of fresh air.

Obviously, you don’t want to indulge in food or drink too late in the evening so that it will keep you awake or awake you in a few hours. Alcohol is one of those that is metabolized in such a way that it at first sedates you them about six hours later stimulates you. That last margarita could be the one that keeps you awake from 3:00 a.m. on.

Finally, a balance in the day’s activities is key. If you are primarily sedentary and working with your mind, get some good physical activity (preferably at least 3-4 hours before bedtime). If you are predominantly a physical worker, spend some time reading or playing mentally challenging games. Satisfaction at work is also a contributor. No one likes all of their work every day, but each day focus on an accomplishment that is aligned with your values, so you can go to bed with a sense of satisfaction, rather than frustration and anxiety. The better you sleep, the easier it will be to have a more satisfying day tomorrow.

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