If you have ever spent a night counting sheep in bed, then you might be well aware of the consequences you have to face the next day. Lack of sleep or having poor quality sleep can affect your psychological as well as physical well-being. We spend almost one-third of our lives asleep and missing out on the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep can have adverse consequences on the health.
Several research studies have proved that sleep deprivation or having a poor quality of sleep over a long term can lead to weakened immunity, weight gain, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer, in the long run. Moreover, according to a 2010 study published in the journal Sleep, sleeping less than 6 to 8 hours a night increases the risk of premature death by around 12 percent.
Signs you are not sleeping well
There are many signs that indicate you are not getting sufficient sleep right from feeling cranky to sleeping during the daytime. Here are some of the common signs to watch out for.
-Feeling cranky most of the time
-Waking up tired
-Not being able to focus on work
-Falling asleep within minutes of hitting a bed
-Feeling hungry all the time
Research-based Tips To Improve Sleep Quality
Lack of sleep can be a sign of an underlying medical problem. Hence, rule out the medical causes of sleep deprivation before you try these science-backed ways to promote sleep and have a better sleep hygiene.
1. Avoid lights from electronic devices: Using any device close at bedtime or in the middle of the night was associated with a significant reduction in the quality and quantity of sleep. It is advised to put all electronic devices right from phones, tablets, laptops, TV at least two hours before hitting the sack. Not doing so may interfere with your body clock and make it harder for the brain to turn off, thus affecting your sleep.
2. Use sleep accessories like eye masks: Most people find it hard to get into a peaceful sleep with the lights on. Also, hearing the noise of the vehicles, neighbors talking or TV sounds during bedtime can impact the quality of sleep. So to block the environmental stimuli, research studies have recommended the use of eye mask and ear plugs. A 2010 study suggest that sleep aids such as earplugs and eye masks were shown to promote sleep and hormone balance in the research subjects.
3. Improve air quality with the use of air purifier: Indoor air pollution could be one of the reasons for spending sleepless nights in bed. The indoor pollutants such as tobacco smoke, mosquito coils, cooking fumes, etc can lead to poor air quality in your household, which in turn can make you breathe polluted air and lead to poor quality sleep. Hence, investing in an air purifier is a good idea as it can remove around 99% of indoor air pollutants and help you breathe clean and fresh air at night, thus making you sleep healthier.
4. Follow a fixed schedule: Have you heard the popular proverb “Early to sleep, early to rise, keeps a man healthy, wealthy and wise’? The importance of sleep to help keep you healthy cannot be underestimated. Hence, to ensure you get your daily dose of sleep, hit the sack at the same time and get up at the same time every day. This will help you to set a fixed schedule to sleep and wake up, thereby maintaining your sleep-wake cycle and promoting healthy sleep. Also, ensure to not sleep immediately after your meal but wait for at least two hours before you hit snooze.
5. Use of white noise generators: White noise is the buzzing sound that you hear when you switch radio stations. However, research studies have proved that the white noise can mask environmental noises in the background and make it less distracting, thereby helping you sleep better. The sounds that are used mostly used as white noise include sounds like the sound of rain and the sound of ocean waves.
6. Create a comfortable sleep environment: The sleep microenvironment comprises of mattresses, pillows, bed frame, bed sheets and the air within your sleep area. However, sleep microenvironment can harbor numerous bacteria, fungi, chemicals, and dust, which can cause indoor air pollution.
According to a 2017 study, exposure to indoor air pollutants in the sleep microenvironment can affect the quality of sleep. The dust that accumulates on the bedding is inhaled during sleep, thereby impairing the overall quality of sleep and making you sleep deprived. Hence, ensure the sleep environment is clean, dust-free and germ-free to help you get a good night’s sleep.
This article is sponsored by Honeywell Air Purifiers.
1. Carter B, Rees P, Hale L, Bhattacharjee D, Paradkar MS. Association Between Portable Screen-Based Media Device Access or Use and Sleep Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. 2016;170(12):1202-1208. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5380441/
2. Cappuccio FP, D’Elia L, Strazzullo P, Miller MA. Sleep duration and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Sleep. 2010 May;33(5):585-92. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2864873/
3. Hu RF, Jiang XY, Zeng YM, Chen XY, Zhang YH. Effects of earplugs and eye masks on nocturnal sleep, melatonin and cortisol in a simulated intensive care unit environment. Crit Care. 2010;14(2):R66. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2887188/
4. Farokhnezhad Afshar P, Bahramnezhad F, Asgari P, Shiri M. Effect of White Noise on Sleep in Patients Admitted to a Coronary Care. J Caring Sci. 2016 Jun 1;5(2):103-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4923834/
5. Boor, Brandon & Spilak, Michal & Laverge, et al. Human exposure to indoor air pollutants in sleep microenvironments: A literature review. Building and Environment. 2017. 125. 528-555. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319399438_Human_exposure_to_indoor_air_pollutants_in_sleep_microenvironments_A_literature_review