The Small Considerations That Affect Your Sleep Quality
We all make many decisions during the course of our day. Decisions around scheduling our time, the diet we consume, and hopefully the degree to which we dictate our work/life balance. There are also many other things we take care of without really knowing it. Some things in life are done on autopilot, and often these are the little areas that deserve our time improving.
We’d all be lost without sleep. The experiences of those who are very sleep deprived are nasty and well documented. It’s important for us to ensure that we keep our sleep healthy, and working for us. We all know when we enter those tricky bouts of insomnia and strange sleep patterns that getting things back to normal is relatively tricky. There are many things we can do to enjoy a lifelong and habitual healthy sleep schedule however, so it’s a shame to ignore the potential beautiful and restful nights of sleep you could be experiencing.
Just like almost anything worth doing, getting good sleep requires paying attention to the details. This means understanding the small considerations that affect your sleep quality. They are as follows:
Blue light given by your television, monitor or phone screen affect the scheduling response responsible for your circadian rhythm. If you watch one of these screens before bed, it’s likely that you’re robbing yourself of at least an hour of sleep nightly. This is why it’s so hard to relax after you’ve been playing video games, watching a Netflix show or playing on your phone.
Thankfully, more and more people are understanding the effects of blue light, and are working to mitigate it. These fixes are easy to implement. For your desktop computer or laptop, consider using Flux in order to artificially create an amber filter to block out the blue light at night. This means that your pesky work assignments that must be completed before bedtime will not intrude on your sleep hygiene. There are also apps for your mobile that achieve the same result. These apps will only implement their effects at night when the sun goes down however, so don’t be afraid to keep them running all the time.
Also, be aware of where blue light could be getting to you without you knowing. For example, reading on an Amazon Kindle tablet at night might seem safe, but only the paper e-readers allow for a lack of blue-light. Be vigilant and you’ll notice that your sleep quality improves.
Now, despite the fact that blue light filters will often allow you to work on your screen before you retire to bed, it’s not something that you should consider to be incorrigible. After all, the pace of thoughts and expended effort that must be part and parcel of working at night translates to the time it takes to unwind in bed.
This is why it’s important to take some time for yourself at night. Of course, your busy schedule might mean that this is only achievable for a fraction of the nights of your week, but that’s still healthier than none. SImply lay in bed and read, make an effort to groom and listen to some calming music, and schedule some time to meditate if you can. This time spent unwinding will naturally lead you to sleep. It takes on average fourteen minutes for someone to fall asleep if they manage to retire to the bedroom correctly. It can take upwards of an hour for someone to relax after being fraught with activity.
This means staying away from your smartphone. You can place this in a drawer in your bedside table, and only turn loud notifications or ringtones on for people who take priority.
Routine is one of the most important things possible to improve your sleep hygiene. In this handy guide to improving bedtime, the benefits of doing so are laid out clearly. Routine drives us as humans, and not only from a mental perspective. We are physiologically wired to respond well to routine and schedule.
This means that if you wake up at 6am every single morning, even going to bed at 4am one night is likely to yield the same result. We are creatures of habit, and this translates directly into the ancient habit of sleeping. Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday, no exceptions. This is especially true if you have children as a lack of routine for them can often lead to stunted development on account of their bodies experiencing a lack of regularity.
Being able to sleep well is a gift. Be sure to respect it and take care of it, and you will enjoy long and restful periods of sleep for a long time to come.