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Sleep Advice You Won’t Hear From Anyone

Sleep better without giving up your technology.

Health: If you’ve ever had a bad, or even mediocre, night’s sleep — and studies and surveys indicate that many people do — you’re well aware of the consequences of poor sleep. Aside from sluggishness and lethargy, a lack of sleep can impair thinking, reaction time, and judgement. Long-term sleep deprivation has been related to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, diabetes, and obesity.

Sleeping difficulties can be caused by many circumstances and are not a reflection of how optimised or streamlined your life is. Shift work, children’s erratic sleep habits, stress, intense light in the evening (from both household lighting fixtures and technology), the pandemic, and sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea can all impair a person’s ability to get enough rest. Sleep deprivation is, in the end, a systemic issue, and people should not blame themselves for societal concerns affecting sleep.

Pay Attention to Your Body

When it comes to the sleeping environment, Hill recommends keeping your room as dark, cool, and silent as possible. Allow your body to define the most comfortable temperature, which will vary depending on the weight of your sheets and blankets, what you wear to bed, whether you sleep alone or with a partner and pets, and whether you run hot or cold. Hill recommends blackout curtains and a white noise machine or smart speaker to keep light and noise out of your sleep sanctuary. If you don’t want to buy a new gadget, iPhones feature a white noise capability, and numerous white noise apps are available for download.

One Problem at a Time

Once you’ve determined the nature of your sleep problems, you must discover what is generating them in the first place. This can be challenging, according to Hill, because so many elements influence your capacity to sleep: screen usage, light exposure, food, stress, anxiety, and unpredictable work hours. “People must recognise that they cannot change everything,” Hill adds.

It’s also not your responsibility to spend much money, especially at first. Several gadgets, technologies, and applications are touted as must-haves for enhancing sleep. Still, Hill recommends doing less: limiting screen time, coffee (especially in the afternoon and evening), and alcohol before bed.

Prepare Yourself for Success Throughout the Day

According to Hill’s research, people often put off going to bed because they don’t get enough “me time” or socialising time throughout the day. As a result, they stay up late catching up on the news, scrolling social media, or texting pals. To offset this, Hill recommends interspersing a few brief periods of isolation or social engagement throughout the day — imagine five minutes of meditation or social media here, a quick 30-minute phone call with a buddy there — so you don’t feel the need to binge at night.

Establish a Routine

Wu believes that waking up at the same time every day, especially on weekends, is more crucial than having a constant bedtime. You can control when you wake up with an alarm; you can’t control when you fall asleep at night. Waking occurs more abruptly than sleeping and serves as an effective start to the 24-hour circadian cycle.

Giving your brain time to rest is critical, so avoid doing last-minute work or watching stressful or action-packed media. Those things will only serve to wake you up.

Be Technologically Savvy

Sleep experts advise relocating all devices and smartphones to another room in today’s always-connected society. “I need to keep my phone close since I’m on call for the sleep lab,” Benjamin explains. “I’m not going to leave my phone in another room.”

Devices are sometimes portrayed as the villains of sleep hygiene, yet they can be made to work for you rather than against you. “Sometimes we think we have to be a monk in the hour before night,” Wu explains, “but it doesn’t have to be that way.”