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Ways to Protect Your Sleep

Continuing from the article that emphasizes the importance of sleep, this article shares how you can improve your sleep environment that gives you a better quality of sleep.

Continuing from last month’s article that emphasizes the importance of sleep, this article shares how you can improve your sleep environment that gives you a better quality of sleep.

Sleep survey 2018 by Am Life International Sdn Bhd (Amlife) reported 9 in 10 Malaysians suffer from one or more sleep problems. 66% of those participants reported that they suffer from different sleep difficulties such as waking in the middle of the night, feeling tired and unrested the next morning, and feeling sleepy and tired throughout the day.

When asked what they think was the reason they could not sleep well, many reported factors such as unhealthy lifestyle, using too much gadgets before sleep, environmental issues, stress, anxiety and depression. While Malaysians generally agree the importance to sleep better, many do not know how. Below are tips to follow that will help you override the tendency of staying up late and not sleeping well.

Ways to Protect Your Sleep

1. Cool down

We fall asleep much faster when our body temperature drops. You can encourage a drop in body temperature by taking a hot bath or shower 60 -90 minutes before sleep. Also avoid exercising 4 hours prior to bed time.

2. Environment

Make sure you bed room is cool, dark and technology free (switch off Wi-Fi and mobile data). Avoid using your bed for other activities besides from sleep and sex. Avoid watching the clock/ time when you have difficulty falling asleep.

3. Don’t spend too long in bed

We tend to retreat into bed when mood is low. However, going to bed too early means repeated awakenings and much shallower sleep that would degrade the quality of our sleep.

4. Keep in sync with your body clock

Stabilize your circadian rhythm by going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday even on weekends.

5. Go to bed when you are sleepy

Go to bed when you are sleepy, likewise, don’t go to bed before you are sleepy.

6. Avoid stimulants

Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine in the evening and even in the afternoon if you notice being affected.

7. Notice what you eat

Certain types of food eaten too near your bedtime can affect your sleep. Make a diary of food you take before bed time and how it affects your sleep quality. Eliminate gradually.

8. Avoid trying to sleep

Actively trying to sleep can only make you more awake. Mainly because forcing yourself to sleep will make you anxious when you can’t fall asleep. If you are awake, be awake. Get out of bed, read, meditate, or do any calming activities.

9. Reduce screen time

Gadgets and screen time are like a mini sun, emitting blue light, that interferes with the production of melatonin, which is important to feeling sleepy. Gadgets are a source of distraction that keep the brain alert. Avoid screen time an hour before sleep.

10. Wind down before sleep

Avoid or keep to a minimum activity that keep your mind buzzing. Pick up a few calming exercises such as breathing, yoga, or stretching. Read materials that are soothing to your brain.

By: Ms Jolene Yeo - SOL Psychologist

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