Sleep - All about it | The Science of Sleep

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Like a healthy diet, healthy food and drinks are essential for healthy well-being. Sleep is also a necessary ingredient in a person's life for their well-being. However, sleep is a critical requirement of our body. It also requires certain etiquettes. It is known as sleep hygiene. 

Sleep hygiene needs your room to be dark before you go off to sleep. You must sleep at regular times daily. So, you must maintain a fixed time to get a relaxed sleep daily, save yourself from Insomnia and depression, or take sleeping pills, which may prove life-threatening. 

Sleep hygiene is a behavioral and environmental condition that helps a person sleep well and get rid of depression and mild or moderate Insomnia. Also read Sleep Hygiene Tips: A Complete Guide To Sleep Better, Healthy Sleep Tips

Sleep hygiene techniques

  • Scheduled timing

 To follow the sleep hygiene techniques, the first and foremost principle is that you can improve sleep quality by sleeping at a fixed time with proper sleep hygiene. It must not change even on the weekend. Your inner alarm shall wake you up at your scheduled regular time.

  • Eat and Drink Wise  

Additionally, we have another habit included in sleeping hygiene, i.e., eating and drinking wisely to improve sleep quality. Before bedtime, we should avoid a heavy intake of foods and prefer a light-weighted dinner. We should avoid drinking caffeine like coffee before bedtime because sleep quality decreases. We should go for some light snacks, which satisfy the hunger and the sleep quality remains undisturbed.

  • Daytime Exercise

 Sleep hygiene also includes that you must exercise regularly for good sleep quality. If you practice vigorous exercises in the morning, it will let you work the entire day without a yawn or a nod to sleep. So, you are heavily tired by nighttime and doze off at the regular time. 

If you want to practice yoga before bedtime, you are advised to do it before 3hrs of rest to promote sleep quality.

  • Sleep-Friendly Environment

To achieve a better sleep quality, you should make your room friendly for a tight sleep. It would help if you were not using electronic devices like mobile phones, televisions, computers, etc. Its radiation may harm your eyes, and those thoughts may disturb your sleep quality. It would help if you also put on dark-colored curtains for good-night sleep quality to maintain sleep hygiene. 

To maintain sleep hygiene and promote relaxation and calmness, you should spray some room sprays or add some aromatic oils or creams to your body, which might accelerate the sleep quality. It remains undisturbed, and you wake up happy the following day and give a kick-off start to your work. 

Once you adapt to a friendly way of sleep hygiene, you may not be a victim of nightmares, as you are stress-free, and there shall not be any cause of nightmares.

  • Keep a Sleep Diary

Good sleep hygiene may require keeping a sleeping diary for a sleep quality that provides uninterrupted sleep. You often need to maintain in it the method which brings out an improvement in you and the processes of sleep that are not working for you so that you will know which way of sleep hygiene needs to be maintained for an excellent sleep quality wherein not to follow the other sleeping methods.

  • Go to bed only when you are tired

Sleep hygiene requires Going to sleep only when you are tired. Just lying down on the bed may sometimes put you off to sleep within twenty minutes, and if you don't doze off within a period, don't try much because it will make you get anxious and angry, and your sleep maybe it will be delayed for hours, though you may take a bath before a relaxed bedtime. 

Try reading some books meanwhile, which might tend to affect your sleep quality. It is one of the most essential and effective sleep hygiene techniques.

  • Limit napping- or avoid it if you can

One of the essential points to be noted in maintaining sleep hygiene is avoiding or reducing napping. It may make it more challenging to sleep at night and get a good sleep quality. 

Additionally, you may not get uninterrupted sleep. The sleep quality degrades, and you will be frustrated. If napping has become that strong habit, you should not sleep in the late afternoon, and if so, you should sleep for a short while.  

  • Manage stress before going to bed  

Thinking about things that keep you worrying and that keep you awake, it is essential to keep a diary so that you may note your worries down in your journal and remove them from your head.

If your to-do list may stress you, you may note them in a diary and prioritize the ones you need the next day. It is the best way to maintain sleep hygiene. It would be best if you tried meditation before you go to sleep to help calm your mind.

Research suggests that when a weight is put on a tired body, the person dozes off easily, helps get relief from anxiety, and promotes sound sleep quality. 

What is the cause of Nightmares?

 Now you may wonder what nightmares are and what is the cause of nightmares. Let us have a look at it. 

Nightmares are dreams disturbing us from our good sleep quality. They often affect our brain and heart, i.e., our nervous system and cardiovascular system. Nightmares often take place when there is rapid eye movement in the sleep. It mostly takes place early in the morning, causing an increased rate of heartbeats. 

As we wake up suddenly from a disturbed sleep quality, our nervous system gets weak on a sudden break as the brain signals to wake up after a nightmare you get either afraid or tensed.  

Usually, nightmares give negative feelings. It starts with children between the age of 3years old and continues till they survive. Normally, it is the girls who get nightmares. It is a prevalent problem these days, but if it is prolonged and is persistent, it is considered a disorder, and now you should consult your doctor about it. 

Nightmares are usually of short durations, but it becomes difficult for you to go to sleep once again, as, after a nightmare, you become more tense and afraid. And your heartbeat rate increases, you start sweating and are afraid. 

A nightmare disorder is a problem for the child and the caretaker or the parents; as the child is unable to speak, we are unable to understand the exact cause of his screaming.

They include various causes; out which the major ones are listed here:

  • Stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety mean some sad, traumatic situations which may create worry. The person might continuously worry about those stressful situations, which appear as nightmares. If you’re wondering what is the cause of nightmares, this is the most significant one at night. 

  • Mental health conditions

Nightmares are mostly affecting people with mental health disorders. In short, the answeer to what is the cause of nightmares is the mental health disorders of people. People with a mental health disorder, though maintaining sleep hygiene, complain about post-traumatic stress disorder. As time passes, you get more stressed and develop some chronic diseases.

  • Sleep Deprivation

 Adding to the cause of nightmares may be insufficient sleep also. Insufficient sleep means sleep deprivation. If a person gets insufficient sleep, nightmares might disturb his sound sleep. Thus, affecting the sleep quality and listing itself as the answer to what is the cause of nightmares.

  • Personal history of nightmares

This is one of the points that eliminates the question of what is the cause of nightmares. It may also be found in their genes, or the person might frequently be receiving nightmares since childhood, which is why he is still receiving it now. It contributes to the personal history of nightmares as a cause of nightmares, though sleep hygiene and good sleep habits are maintained. 

  • Certain drugs and medications

Additionally, certain drugs and medications might also cause nightmares. Using some types of illicit substances or some other medicines prescribed might affect the nervous system and cause nightmares.

  • Withdrawal from certain medications

A person might get habituated to certain kinds of medicines or drugs, which may be harmful in the long run. After stopping those medicines, he might get nightmares, the cause of his sound sleep quality would have been those medications, and as he withdraws it, he does not get proper sleep, which might cause nightmares.

To maintain sleep hygiene and experience a better sleep quality, you should follow good sleep habits. 

Good sleep habits

  • A scheduled time of sleep

 It may alter a few minutes but not extend up-to hours. 

  • Exercise regularly

You may exercise regularly so that at the end of the day, you might achieve a nice sleep quality out of the tiredness of a whole day's hard work, and there should be no cause for nightmares, as you are relaxed at bedtime.

  • Keep a healthy diet

 To maintain sleep hygiene, You may not eat irregularly always, and you are hungry at night and need to have some heavy foods to satisfy your hunger. You should avoid caffeine before sleep and have light-weighted food for dinner. 

It would be best if you avoided the consumption of alcohol, which might affect your sleep quality, though sleep hygiene should be maintained. It might also cause nightmares as you may be struggling to sleep.

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You may be wondering what is the cause of nightmares exactly. The answer is that there is no single cause of nightmares. We should avoid all the mental stresses apply all the sleep hygiene techniques for good sleep quality, and adopt good sleep habits.

Authored by: Bhavishya Pahwa

About the Author: Bhavishya Pahwa is a budding writer who has always confided in a pen. He believes that art is a cure-all and that introspection followed by writing can add to the sanity of the world.

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