Sleep...a natural antidote to so many of our ailments...
Sure, you might already know how great it is to get a good night’s sleep...but do you know how BAD it can be if you’re not?
Studies have shown that getting less than 7 hours of good quality sleep a night can lead to an increased risk of Alzheimer's, cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, hyperglycemia, and poor mental health, among other health issues.
Unfortunately for shift workers, the story gets even more dire with some studies stating that the impact of sleep deprivation can lead to shortening your lifespan by one third!
Which is why it’s so important to take every measure possible to ensure that the sleep you ARE getting is of the best quality possible…
Below we discuss 5 ways to improve your sleep patterns and who knows...maybe even tack on a few extra years to your life!
- 1. Create a nightly routine
Set yourself up for success by creating nightly habits that lead into quality sleep. For example, you might aim to put your phone away 1 hour before lights out every night. You may begin getting ready for bed by having a shower, brushing your teeth and then reading something for 10 or 15 minutes before turning the lights off...Think about habits that put you in a relaxing state of mind and begin to subconsciously prepare you for sleep.
- 2. Avoid caffeine after noon
Caffeine lasts in the average person’s body for four to six hours...while you may initially experience a buzz within the first hour of drinking a cup of coffee, the stimulant can still be active up to 6 hours later…
While everyone metabolises caffeine differently, to improve your chances of a good quality sleep, avoiding consuming caffeinated products after 12pm.
- 3. Turn off all screens an hour before lights out
The blue light emanating from the majority of our screens (whether that be your TV, phone, computer etc) are incredibly disruptive to your circadian rhythms and wreaks havoc on sleep.
Yes...you might be one of those people who have no trouble using your phone in bed and be able to go to sleep soon after...this doesn’t mean it’s not affecting your sleep while you’re unconscious.
So if you can, eliminate the use of screens as early as possible in your nightly routine or look into purchasing a set of Blue Light Blocker glasses.
*You can also adjust your phone settings to reduce blue light during certain hours of the day
- 4. Seek complete darkness and silence
Darkness is integral to good quality sleep. It signals to the body that it is the time for rest and levels of melatonin (the sleep or darkness hormone) begin to rise. When our body is exposed to light, it disrupts our internal sleep clock.
Studies have shown that even the smallest amount of light can disrupt our sleep quality.
Using materials like blackout curtains, eye covers and ear buds can help promote greater sleep quality.
- 5. Get to sleep by 10pm
Studies have shown that due to our circadian rhythms, you reach the periods of deepest sleep between the hours of 10pm and 2am. The less time spent asleep within this 4 hour period, the less good quality sleep you are going to get. Even choosing to sleep from 12pm to 9am is not going to be as high quality for you as sleeping 9pm to 5am.
Shift Workers...we apologise! However, these are 5 things that can be implemented when trying to sleep anywhere...give them a go and let us know if you experience an improvement in your sleep quality!