Dr Matthew Walker’s ‘Why we sleep?’ looks in great detail at what happens in the body when we sleep but not so much at how we can improve it.
However, at the end of his book is an appendix based on the National Institute of Health’s guide which you can read here.
I offered a sleep tip yesterday about earplugs because they have improved my own sleep.
Today, here are my TOP THREE SLEEP TIPS based on the NIH guide:
1. Set an alarm for bedtime
Your body likes going to sleep and waking at the same time every day. Science tells us that trying to catch up sleep in the weekend does not work…
So set an alarm 9-10 hours before you need to wake. Use the alarm as a reminder to turn your phone off (see below). Give yourself 30 mins to get ready for bed.
2. Keep your bedroom dark, cool and GADGET-FREE
i) Dark: if you live in a city you probably have too much light in your room at night. An eye-mask is cheap and practical.
ii) Cool: body temperature drops during sleep which is why having a bath or sauna makes us tired. Aim for a room temperature of 18 degrees (it’s colder than you think!)
iii) Gadget-free: get ready for this one; it’s brutal:
DO NOT BRING YOUR MOBILE INTO THE BEDROOM.
Your phone stimulates you. It keeps you awake with blue light. It produces harmful electromagnetic radiation.
So, DO NOT bring it into your bedroom. Turn it off an hour before sleep and leave it outside of your room. If you need an alarm, buy one.
3. Bright light in the morning; Low light at night
Get at least 30 mins of bright light in the morning. The brain uses strong light to set your body clock. Also, and perhaps more importantly, dim or turn off lights in the evening.
Blue light from digital devices acts like the morning sun, signalling your brain to stay awake, so watch your screen-time after the sun goes down.
Aim to use soft yellow bulbs (tungsten) at night instead of LED lights or florescent tubes.