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A doctor gives proven tips to get better quality of sleep

By Camille Santiago Published Mar 19, 2021 4:32 pm Updated Mar 19, 2021 8:26 pm

Truth be told, lack of shuteye makes us feel like we’re in a perpetual state of brain fog. And those memes about not getting enough sleep? They’re are all too relatable not to share.

But like everything else, good sleep isn’t just about how long you sleep, but more of the quality. It’s important that we stay in bed long enough to go through the different stages of sleep that helps us stay rested for the following day.

“Quality sleep is very important in ensuring that you have good health and good quality of life. And, you know, there's no effort in getting good sleep because it's practically free,” said Dr. Keith Aguilera, president of the Philippine Society of Sleep Medicine Inc.

At the same webinar hosted by foam manufacturer Uratex, Sleep Ambassadress Heart Evangelista-Escudero agreed, saying, "I truly stand by this because even when I'm having a really busy day and my schedule is full, I make up for it through sleep—I always rely on good sleep to keep me fresh, energized, and keep my skin glowing. I think this is the best gift you can give yourself especially during this pandemic when we need a very strong immune system to get through each day.”

To know more about how you can get a good quality of sleep, continue reading below. Happy International Sleep Day!

Three things to consider for good quality sleep:

1. Duration

Learning about the ideal sleep time of seven to eight hours is nothing new to most of us, but sleeping more than that isn’t actually that great. Dr. Aguilera says that getting longer or shorter sleep than the optimal hours “is not good for your health.”

2. Continuity

“It doesn't mean that if you increase [sleep] for about nine or seven hours, you've actually had good sleep. Continuity is very important—it has to be straight,” says Dr. Aguilera.

He adds, “Younger people would have a more continuous sleep. As you get older, it becomes more fragmented. So meaning you do spend a lot of time waking up in the middle of the night. And this can also affect sleep quality."

3. Depth

When we sleep, we go through several stages of sleep, which are all important that we encounter on a daily basis. 

The first and second stages are called light sleep. The first stage is the state when you are asleep but can be easily awaken. In the second stage, the body enters a more subdued state and brain activity slows.The third stage is more commonly called as deep sleep, which improves your wakefulness and your cognitive function. 

And lastly, the rapid eye movement or REM, is the stage where we dream. “When we dream, that’s very important. It actually corresponds well to the to the psychological well being of a person. So it actually affects your mood,” said Dr. Aguilera. “It also consolidates complex learning—this is also very important among children,” he added.

10 Commandments of sleep hygiene for adults by World Sleep Society:

  1. Establish a regular bedtime and waking time.
    It’s best to maintain a regular sleep cycle. “You can actually train yourself—it may not be very instant, but if you do it regularly, you'll find the benefit of having regular sleep in a matter of about a week or two,” said Dr. Aguilera.

  2. Allow yourself to take a nap.
    When you’re tired, take a nap for a maximum of 30 minutes. Though Dr. Aguilera says if you can avoid taking naps, that’s better. “Try to use all your sleep or all your tiredness at night.”

  3. Adjust to a healthier lifestyle regarding your substance abuse.
    This means no alcohol or cigarettes before going to sleep!

  4. Create a caffeine cut-off time.
    Dr. Aguilera suggests to create a caffeine cut-off about six hours before your bedtime. This includes coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate.

  5. Change up your bedtime snack.
    Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods four hours before bedtime. A light snack is okay.

  6. Watch your workout routine.
    Exercise again is important. But try not to exercise if it's if it's going to be less than three hours before your bedtime.

  7. Use comfortable, inviting bedding.
    Because we spend 1/3 of our life sleeping, it’s just about right to make your bed comfortable to lie on. “The best investment for your lifetime is actually getting good bed,” said Dr. Aguilera. "If you have a nice mattress, you save yourself from having back aches, from having sleepless nights, and all these things that come in when your mattress is not so good," added sleep advocate Cheska Garcia-Kramer.

  8. Find a comfortable sleep temperature setting and keep the room well ventilated.
    Adjust your settings to 21 to 24 degrees.

  9. Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible.
    Dr. Aguilera says, the darker the room is, the more melatonin your body secretes, which is a chemical in our bodies that make us sleepy.

  10. Reserve your bed for sleep and sex, avoiding its use for work or general recreation.
    This means no watching TV and no using of gadgets on your bed. Basically use your bed only when you're about to sleep.