Not everyone who snores is mortgaging their future like the city executives mentioned earlier. Most snorers have the option of maximising good sleep but fail to do so.
These people are not taking the correct basic steps to reduce or even stop their condition by understanding proper sleep hygiene. The term hygiene brings to mind a focus on personal cleanliness prior to bed, maybe fresh bedding or an ordered, clutter-free bedroom.
Whilst these elements would help ensure a better night’s rest in a practical sense, it’s actually what they contribute to that defines what is meant by proper sleep hygiene: a routine which prepares us mentally for healthy sleep and daytime alertness.
The steps outlined above certainly contribute to making a cleaner, calmer environment which helps clear the mind. However, it’s what we do with this mental preparedness that is most important.
One key observation is the likelihood that rather than seeing our bed as a place for rest, we commonly see it as an extension of the living space. Watching TV and movies, playing games, reading and eating are now very normal activities that take place in the bedroom and this needs to change.
This routine is just as relevant to non-snorers as snorers, but the point here is when the latter is already up against a huge reduction in the available restorative hours, following proper sleep hygiene is going to help.
However, taking on too many changes in any new regime is destined for failure, so if you are only going to do one thing, keep your pre-bed routine the same and just follow the exercises. If you have really committed to the idea of getting more rest and increasing daily alertness the list below serves as a starting point.
Pick one and stick to it, thereby making it a habit. Then incorporate the second and so on and so forth. You will very quickly see a big change-guaranteed.
Blueprint for Good Sleep Hygiene
Don’t eat high-calorie meals close to bedtime and be aware of what is in your snacks and evening treats, for example chocolate contains caffeine.
Cut out stimulants such as tea and coffee two to three hours prior to bed.
Try and avoid strenuous exercise in the evening, and take it instead in the morning or afternoon.
Get outside in the day! Maximising your exposure to natural light will help regulate your internal body clock and help with the forming of a day and night regime.
Don’t nap in the day, even if you’re tired. Get the regime right and you will see a rise in your energy levels so midday napping becomes a thing of the past.
Mental stimulation will prevent you from entering restorative sleep.
This list is by no means exhaustive but highlights some key first steps in getting sleep hygiene right. The idea here is to redefine the bedroom as a place we associate predominantly with sleep.