How to Get Better Sleep in 2022
For many, getting a solid night’s sleep is as elusive as winning the lottery. Getting too little sleep is so common that it’s become almost a badge of honor to get through each day with sleep deprivation. Even if you feel like you can function on little sleep, it’s actually debilitating, if not dangerous, to a person’s health and mental faculties.
As we approach the new year, health is often at the top of resolutions. One area of health that affects your entire body is your sleep. So, how do you get better sleep and more of it?
Recognize if you are devoting enough time to sleep
You can’t cheat biology, 5-6 hours of time in bed is not enough. Wearables can help but don’t let them make you crazy either (We don’t actually know the relevance of sleep stages/sleep quality and depth scores derived from wearables.) Just make sure you are devoting enough time to sleep.
Assess your Sleep Environment
Cool, dark, & quiet (smartphone on do not disturb-even vibration sounds can disrupt sleep). The bedroom environment is for sleep. Fans are great for white noise and cooling since a room temp in the high 60s is the ideal in your bedroom.
Humans are highly conditioned, so if you start doing other things in bed like ruminating on the day, watching Netflix, working, or scrolling, you will associate the bed with other things than sleep. If you are lying in bed struggling to sleep, get up and do something relaxing in another dimly lit room.
Establish a Wind-down Routine
You can’t go from sixty to zero, a wind-down routine helps to cue your body that it’s time for sleep. But you need more than just a bedtime skin regimen or book reading ritual.
Start dimming the lights within 4 hours of sleep onset. Light during this window of time (particularly blue spectrum light that your backlit electronic screens are enriched in) can push the internal clock later, making it hard to fall asleep at the beginning of the night, and harder to wake up in the morning.
If you are a night owl, you can try amber-colored blue-blocking lenses (blue spectrum lights are everywhere, given LED lighting).
Schedule Your Sleep
If you have to commit to one change for improving your sleep for the New Year: wake up at the same time every day, 7 days per week (if that’s a deal-breaker on weekends, at least make it within an hour).
Waking up at the same time every day stabilizes and strengthens your circadian rhythm so that your body knows not only the time when you are supposed to awaken but also the time you are supposed to fall asleep.
Getting lots of light when awakening and during the daytime is critical for a robust circadian rhythm. If you aren’t getting enough light during the day, you may consider light therapy.
Additionally, this stable wake time ensures you build up enough sleep hunger (homeostatic sleep drive) so your body is ready for bed at your desired bedtime.
A common downward spiral we see is sleeping poorly becomes sleep in to catch more zzzs becomes try to go to bed early the next night (when your body isn’t biologically ready for sleep) becomes get frustrated which become sleep poorly again…over and over and over again.
Getting up at the same time each day to leverage your circadian rhythm and homeostatic sleep drive really gets you “more bang for your buck” during the time you devote to sleep.”
Not getting enough sleep increases the risk of obesity, memory impairment, illness, and even hallucinations or death. Falling asleep is a common problem. But sleep quality is also crucial for optimum brain function and recovery. Fortunately, there are many ways to train your body and mind to fall asleep more quickly and improve your sleep quality.
When you become a Certified Sleep Science Coach, you will learn how to help your clients dramatically enhance their metabolism, memory, creativity, immune function, hormone balance, hunger management, disease prevention, sports performance, accident avoidance, memory, reaction time, good judgement, surgery recovery, happiness and over 100 additional functions and behaviors.
Our programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.