Aaron Chy, BSc General, PharmD Student
It’s late at night and you’re staring at a brightly lit screen, guzzling coffee while hammering away at your keyboard. The sun comes up soon, but it’s no difference to you as you’ve just pulled another all-nighter. Later, you’ll go to sleep in the afternoon and get up in the middle of the night wide awake. Oh, and it’s only Monday.
Whether it be because of work, school or the latest season of Stranger Things, we’ve all been victims to those late nights and early mornings. To keep your health and productivity up, it’s important to practice good sleep hygiene, that is, maintaining the right habits and routines that promote restful, continuous sleep.
Here are some tips on how you can keep your sleep hygiene in check:
Avoid bright light in the evening: Light exposure is one of the key signals the body uses to adjust its circadian rhythm, which acts as your internal clock. Lying in bed at night looking at your phone or that laptop screen with Netflix playing sends your body mixed messages and may contribute to keeping you up.
Avoid coffee, nicotine and alcohol before sleep: Coffee and nicotine are both stimulants, which, unsurprisingly, can make falling asleep difficult at night. On the other hand, alcohol has a negative effect on sleep quality. People who consume alcohol before bedtime may sleep sooner, but awake more frequently in the night and feel less alert the following day.
Keep a regular schedule, avoid napping: Keeping a regular bedtime routine like brushing your teeth or having a shower helps condition your body to recognize when bedtime is coming. On the other hand, naps greater than 30 minutes can disrupt your internal clock.
- Diagnosis of circadian rhythm sleep disorders – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18392466