Is there something you cannot do without in your life, even for a day? An answer which fits the bill for most of us would be — sleep.
However, we often sacrifice our sleep to fulfil commitments or engage in other captivating activities.
Let’s assess whether you or your child is sleep-deprived using the pointers below!
There are some quick and simple adjustments which we can make to improve our sleep.
Our sleep environment plays a pivotal role in helping us sleep better. A good night’s sleep is essential for us to feel recharged and be productive the next day, regardless of age.
Here’s a bedroom of a child. Are you able to spot five areas of improvement that we could do to this bedroom?
Here’re some tips for transforming this bedroom into a sleep haven!
Little or no light
As part of our sleep-wake cycle, our body produces a hormone called melatonin that makes us feel drowsy and induces sleep when we are in the dark. Light exposure results in a lower level of melatonin production and slows down sleep induction.
Thus, it is crucial to switch off bright lights before we sleep. A night light would come in handy for children who are afraid of sleeping in total darkness. Not only does it help to overcome the fear of darkness, but it also helps in relaxation as well. Take note to dim the night light and position it such that it does not interfere with sleep during use.
Reduce blue light from electronic screens
One of the common environmental stimuli which hamper sleep is the blue light emitted from electronic devices. Blue light inhibits our brain from producing melatonin. Switch off the TV, mobile phones, and computer to minimize blue light exposure and prepare yourself for sleep at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
Environmental noise could disrupt sleep and increase the difficulty of falling asleep. Reduce noise from the surroundings by switching off the TV, shutting the window, and using earplugs if necessary.
Avoid heavy meals before sleep
The temptation of delicious food is often hard to resist for many. However, having heavy meals before bedtime will make us feel uncomfortable falling asleep.
Avoid caffeine-rich food before sleep
Caffeine-rich food such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate are stimulants that keep us awake. The consumption of these items should be avoided before bedtime as well.
Wind-down activities before sleep
Engaging in wind-down activities such as reading a book or taking a warm bath could help our brain relax and prepare the body for sleep. Children should avoid stimulating activities like playing video games before sleep. Their play area with toys should be a separate area from their bedroom to avoid distraction before sleep.
Make it comfortable
Lastly, make yourselves comfortable with the right room temperature! An environment that is neither too hot nor cold helps in promoting sleep. Use a blanket when it is too cold and switch on fans or air-conditioners when it is too hot.
Let’s take a look at an improved bedroom.
Besides having a conducive sleep environment, it is also beneficial to follow a sleep schedule and develop a bedtime routine. The ideal number of sleeping hours for preschoolers would be at least 10 to 13 hours daily, and that of adults would be 7 to 9 hours.
We can all make a difference to improve our bedroom environment for better sleep in a few simple steps. Start identifying potential areas for improving your sleep environment and transform yours or your child’s bedroom for a good night’s sleep today!
This article is written in support of the Health Promotion Board’s health messages.
Written by Lim Kah Suan
Illustrations by Jasreel Tan