For people who work long hours, nothing is more valuable than a good night’s sleep. But for some, the amount of sleep one gets doesn’t always correlate with how tired one is. There are many external factors that make it difficult to fall asleep when the time comes. Thankfully, Business Insider spoke to Raj Dasgupta, a sleep medicine expert, about something he calls “sleep hygiene,” which can be described as a “broader set of healthy behaviors designed to prepare our bodies for a night of rest.” Below, three key components to developing healthy sleep hygiene.
Your bed should only be used for sleeping. While many people have the habit of bringing their laptops to bed with the purpose of finishing off last-minute work, it can hinder the ability to fall asleep, which is when people resort back to their screens. “When people can't sleep, what do they do? They pull out their phones and start scrolling,” Dasgupta says. “But that's in direct conflict with stimulus control, which says you reserve the bed for sleeping."
Dasgupta also believes it’s important to limit outside distraction when trying to fall asleep. This includes abstaining from things like television and social media an hour before bed. "When you're going to bed, you want to do things that are relaxing, like reading a book,” Dasgupta explains. “You want to gradually transition into sleep; you don't want your mind to be stimulated."
Finally, Dasgupta says that if you can’t sleep, try doing something else instead. “Good sleep hygiene suggests that you get up, get out of bed, and do something else, something relaxing, like going and reading a book," Dasgupta says, adding that trying to force our brains to sleep will only make us more frustrated.
Do you have any suggestions for how to get a good night's sleep?