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Sleep hygiene

By Haneen Mas’oud , Family Flavours - Jun 13,2021 - Last updated at Jun 13,2021

Photo courtesy of Family Flavours magazine

By Haneen Mas’oud
Clinical Psychologist

 

Are you practicing good sleeping habits? If you want to function at your best mentally, emotionally and physically, you need to prioritise better sleep.

Sleep hygiene refers to habits that help improve sleep, thus positively impacting our mental and physical health. Here are some tips to help you sleep better in the long run:

 

•Having a consistent sleep schedule even on weekends: Try to go to bed, sleep and get up at the same time each day. Sticking to this routine can help your body’s internal clock improve sleep. Also, try avoiding daytime naps of more than ten minutes

•Sleeping only on your bed: Avoid using your bed for activities such as reading, watching television, or chatting with others so you associate bed with sleep only

•Avoiding heavy meals, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, exercise, reading or watching anything that is emotionally arousing during the hours leading up to bedtime 

•Preparing your room in a way that makes you feel comfortable; turning off lights, cooling the room and using a sleep mask and earplugs if needed

•Listening to relaxing music at a low volume with your eyes closed

•Giving yourself 30 minutes to one hour to fall asleep. You may need to get out of bed for five to ten minutes to read in another room, drink de-caffeinated tea, eat a light, healthy snack or do breathing exercises before trying to sleep again

•Reminding yourself that your body is taking a rest by just laying down in bed and that intrusive thoughts can happen at night — most of the time, these thoughts do not seem worrisome to you in the morning (refer to sidebar)

 

You can create your own plan with activities and rituals that help you sleep. YouTube has many deep muscle relaxation exercises and many people benefit from listening to meditation podcasts. For those who have a mental disorder, such Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, professional support is recommended to work through traumas or other factors that might cause sleep disturbances. 

 

Meditation for 

better sleep

 

Here’s how you can do the 9-0 meditation practice by psychologist and author Marsha Linehan: 

1.Breathe in deeply and breathe out slowly, saying in your mind the number 9

2.On the next breath out, say 8; then say 7; and so on until you breathe out saying 0 

3.Then start over, but this time start with 8 (instead of 9) as you breathe out, followed by 7, and so on until you reach 0 

4.Next start with 6 as you breathe out, and so on to 0

5.Then start with 5, then with 4, and so on until you have gone all the way down to starting with 1

 

Reprinted with permission from Family Flavours magazine

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