Psst. We’ve got a sleep challenge for you to take at the end. If you’re “up” for it.
When it comes to setting sleep goals, most people tend to focus on how much time they’re going to get in bed – eight hours? Nine?
The number of hours you spend asleep matters (six will always be better than four) but not nearly as much as how effective that sleep is.
For adults, good quality sleep comprises three criteria:
- Typically falling asleep in 30 minutes or less
- Not waking up more than once in the night
- Going back to sleep within 20 minutes of that one awakening
Sometimes technology is sleep’s best friend. Sometimes.
You already know that blue light (the light from your tv, phone and laptop) is, well, a red light. We can’t emphasise enough how important it is to stop using any gadgets that emit blue light at least an hour before bedtime. A lot of people tend to scroll through social media or play games on their phones when they’re having trouble sleeping. It creates a vicious cycle because that light is designed to disrupt sleep quality.
But here are some great gadgets that are helping people sleep.
Philips Somneo Sleep & Wake-Up light
This light therapy alarm clock is getting rave reviews for its unique “wind down” feature that includes a sunset simulation and breathing exercises. It’s a little on the costly side but there are plenty of less expensive light therapy alarm clocks available.
Adaptive Sound Technologies LectroFan White Noise Sound Machine
With 10 different fan sounds and noise variations, as well as three noise options (white, pink and brown), this is a great investment for people who live near traffic or sleep with snorers.
Circle Home Plus
You know you’re not supposed to scroll through your newsfeed before bed but if you’re finding it really hard to stay away, try Circle Home Plus. It basically monitors your tech usage and can be set to automatically disconnect/reconnect you from the Internet at fixed times.
SomniLight Red LED Night Light
You know you’re supposed to sleep in a dark room but hey, maybe you’re afraid of the dark. It happens.
Red light, surprisingly, has actually proven to be the most effective color for sleeping soundly – which is why this night light will protect you from the darkness without destroying your sleep.
Reading about effective sleep is all very well. But you need to implement it.
We’ve created something that will help you do that.
The 30 Day
Sleep Challenge Zzzallenge (Sorry, but we couldn’t resist.)
Here’s a list of 7 things you should be doing a month from now. Start small. Introduce them one at a time. You’ll get there.
Challenge 1: Wake up before your alarm.
Tip: Start with going to bed at the same time every day, even if you have to lie awake for an hour or two at first. Remember not to use your phone to pass the time. Avoid even switching on a lamp. Some ways you could pass the time are:
1) Creating a fantasy life in your head and living it out (your husband has hair in it and also kind of looks like Brad Pitt, yay!)
2) Plotting successful ways to rob a bank (not to be enacted in real life)
3) Thinking up rude things to say to people you don’t like
- Composing that Oscar speech because one never knows.
You get the picture.
Challenge 2: Put away your phone, laptop and basically all other screens at least an hour before bed.
Tip: It’s called will power. And yes, you have it.
Challenge 3: Read a real book or magazine for fifteen minutes before bed.
Not a tip, just encouragement: A 2009 study conducted by researchers at the University of Sussex revealed that six minutes of reading helped insomnia because it reduced stress by 68%
Challenge 4: Have a bedtime ‘routine’ established.
Tip: This could include a hot beverage, warm bath and spending time with your family in the hour before getting into bed. Or a 10 step skincare regime. It’s really up to you. Either way, try and perform the same activities every day in the hours leading up to bedtime. And make sure they’re relaxing.
Challenge 5: Be a sleep diarist.
Tip: You can keep it simple (E,g, “7 hours deep sleep”; “8 hours but woke up twice”) or not. For example, if you’re the kind that doesn’t like to do things by halves, use it to record your dreams, note deviations in your evening routine or just summarize your day.
Challenge 6: Update your sleep space.
Tip: You need to focus on three things: light and sound (of which there should be none) and temperature (ideally between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit / 18 and 22 degrees Celsius).
Challenge 7: Do some kind of moderate exercise every day.
Tip: You don’t have to go to a gym or ‘work out’. Even a half an hour walk can help.
Good luck and good night.