What is the 10-3-2-1-0 rule of sleep?


If you have been struggling to sleep, we’re here to make things easier for you. Don’t worry, we are not going to suggest something difficult or cumbersome, all you need to do is follow a simple bedtime routine also known as the ‘rule of 10-3-2-1-0’. But before moving ahead with that, let’s first understand the importance of sound sleep.

“Our biological clock, which controls the sleep-wake cycle, is disrupted due to our lifestyle choices resulting in poor quality sleep. But sleep is a restorative state which is essential for all neural, metabolic, and biological functions in our body, lack of which can cause several lifestyle disorders such as cardiovascular diseases, neurovascular diseases, autoimmune conditions, psychological disorders, and so on,” said Dr Narendra Shetty, chief wellness officer, Kshemavana.

As such, it is imperative to sleep for a minimum of 7-8 hours at night. But many people find it difficult to do so. And all you need to do for a good night’s sleep, according to Dr Jess Andrade, who specialises in pediatrics, is to follow a five-point rule.

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What is 10-3-2-1-0 rule of sleep?

10 hours before bed: Limit caffeine

Three hours before bed: Limit foods that can cause an upset stomach

Two hours before bed: Limit homework

One hour before bed: Limit screen time

Zero hours: The times you will hit the snooze button

According to Dr Navneet Sood, senior consultant and clinical lead, pulmonary, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, the 10-3-2-1-0 sleep rule is a simple approach for remembering some healthy pre-sleep practices. “This strategy assists you in getting to bed on time, sleeping better, and waking up well rested and ready for combat the next morning,” he told indianexpress.com.

Explaining the routine, Dr Sood said that the “stimulatory effect of caffeine remains in the bloodstream for around 10 hours. Similarly, finishing large meals or drinking alcohol three hours prior to sleeping can disrupt your normal sleep cycle, limiting excellent quality sleep.”

Agreed Dr Shetty who said that when you eat close to bedtime, “the digestive process and stomach acids can’t function effectively when the body is in a horizontal position, thus aggravating acid reflux and indigestion”.

Don’t eat close to bed time (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

He further suggested relaxing the brain by writing down all your chores for the next day and giving your brain a mental rest. “A long working day can lead to anxiety and thoughts that keep us up at night. So, stopping work at least two hours before bed allows us to relax more and get proper rest so that we can work more effectively the next day,” Dr Shetty explained.

Aman Puri, founder, Steadfast Nutrition added that one should also try to spend more time with family, friends or near ones to calm the mind. “Leave the work stress for the next day to have a healthy sleep,” he mentioned.

Dr Sood noted that reducing the use of electronic gadgets one hour before bedtime helps as blue light disturbs the body’s natural sleep cycle. “The blue light emitted from screens stimulate the brain and keep it alert, and also decrease melatonin (sleep hormone) that ensures a good restful sleep,” he told indianexpress.com, adding that doing so will end up with you hitting the snooze button “0”  times as you will be well-rested.

But, Dr Sood pointed out that it is “only a tip” and may not work for people with medical conditions. “It may not work for everyone, but it’s worth a go if you don’t get enough sleep,” he suggested.

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