Let me just preface this by saying that sleep is probably my favourite thing ever. Besides the fact that it’s an activity for which I don’t need to wear pants, it’s so incredibly important for your physical and mental well being. When you sleep, your body repairs itself from the daily stresses you put it through and your mind is able to clear itself so you can wake up refreshed and refocused. Eight hours of sleep is the ideal amount each night”but what’s to be said for the quality of your sleep? Take your sleep game seriously, and make sure you’re making those hours of zzzs count.
Hey you, on your computer!
‹When you watch TV or use devices, such as your computer or smartphone, you are being exposed to full-spectrum artificial light, explains Gary LeBlanc, lifestyle and wellness coach and co-founder of Ikkuma. There is a light wavelength in artificial light that suppresses melatonin”your sleep hormone. Even after shutting off your technological devices‹, this light can suppress melatonin for up to 90 minutes. Ever wonder why you toss and turn in bed at night, unable to doze off, even though you feel tired? It’s time to unplug”no Netflix in bed or reading hilarious tweets before shut-eye. The good news is that there is software to filter out the most detrimental wavelengths from your devices, making them less disruptive to your sleep cycle, continues LeBlanc. We’re all guilty of watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix before bed sometimes (Lorelai’s voice is soothing, ok?), but making an effort to cut back will definitely increase your sleep quality.
Keep it regular
Your body likes a consistent sleep cycle, otherwise known as your circadian rhythm”call it your internal clock, says LeBlanc. As humans, we innately crave routine and regularity, so it should come as no surprise that our bodies want a consistent sleep pattern, too. Having a pre-bedtime routine is a great way to signal to your body that it’s time to pack it in, like washing your face with a familiar scent or even simply pre-setting your coffee maker for the next morning. There are an infinite amount of metabolic activities when you sleep, so ensuring that you’re giving your body the best chance at maintaining a rhythm is key. Quite simply, when you are sporadic with your sleep cycles, your body is constantly out of sync–this sabotages your body’s hormone regulation, making it more difficult to wind down for a great night sleep. Figure out if you’re a night owl or an early bird, and stick to your guns.
Know your nap facts
Napping during the day is often seen as a good thing, if it’s done right, explains LeBlanc. Napping for long periods of time can screw up your circadian rhythm, since you’re tricking your body into thinking that it’s time for sleep, and you’re in it for the long haul. The typical recommendation for napping is about 25-35 minutes. If you’re prone to insomnia, napping may be exacerbating the ‹issue. If this is the case, it’s best to save your zzzs for the nighttime. To avoid a vicious endless cycle of chasing sleep, start with a good quality night’s rest to begin with. By maximizing the potential of the hours you’re already in bed, you won’t feel the need to take lengthy daytime naps. Unless of course, they’re naps with cuddly puppies, and then that’s a whole new can of worms.