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Top 7 sleep mistakes

Posted by Dr. Himanshu Arora | On September 07, 2016

Weather we acknowledge the fact or not, there are many sleep problems that arise due to our poor sleep habits. Due to our 24/7 lifestyle we stay up late, wake up early, drink alcohol or smoke before going to bed. We don't even realize that in the realm of staying ahead with the world, what are we really missing?

Yes, I am taking about magical restorative sleep, during which our body & mind get recharged.

These are some common mistakes which we do that interfere with our sleep:

1.Our sleep time fluctuates on weekends & weekdays: Despite of the fact that we take required number of hours of sleep, if our sleeping time & wake up time fluctuates on weekdays & weekends, it is generally seen that this can reset our body clock (biological clock) to a later time. This means we will take longer to fall asleep & our wake up time will also fluctuate, leading to changes in our cycle.

2.Taking naps to cope with sleep debt: If we take a nap too late in the day, or if we take a longer nap , it might affect our nighttime sleep patterns and make it difficult to fall asleep at our regular bedtime. A short nap (20-30 minutes) is improves alertness, mood, creativity and performance.

3.Not following any Pre-sleep ritual: We cannot expect your body to suddenly shut down at night time, either ways our body needs signals that promote sleep. So, following a consistent pre-sleep ritual like a warm bath, reading a book, or practicing meditation will help us sleep faster & deeper.

4.Too much exposure to artificial light: While we live in an artificial light environment , we ignore sunlight, which is a regulator of our internal body clock that maintains sleep-wakefulness. As light influences our internal clock through specialized light sensitive cells in the retina which tell the brain that its time to wake up & our sleep patterns are set accordingly.

5.Taking sleeping pills to fall asleep: Sleeping pills do help in getting sleep but it should be taken strictly on physician's advice. They are generally habit forming in nature & gradually the person becomes dependent on them. Sometimes patients are unable to get sleep if they are stopped. Hence it's advisable to follow proper sleep hygiene & try to find out the cause of insomnia.

6.Using Alcohol as a sleeping aid: It is not advised to use alcohol as a sleeping aid; as research shows that although you may feel sleepy after having alcohol within 2 - 3 hours of bedtime, but this may lead to impaired sleep & frequent arousals.

It is seen that having alcohol prior to bedtime tends to relax the muscles of throat, which may again lead to snoring, sleep apnea episodes & arousals are more likely.

7.Setting up television in bedroom: We watch TV in bed till we fall asleep. This depresses the sleep inducing hormone melatonin , which interferes with sleep.

Make sleep your priority. Sleepwell !

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