We all know sleep is good for us. We all know exercising helps us sleep better. We all know a good night time routine helps us sleep better. And we all know that if we sleep better we’ll perform better in work. But what else can we do to shut off and sleep the recommended daily amount (or more)?
Scientists and health experts are continuously learning more about sleep. Just yesterday the Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to insights into the internal biological clock while it was also recently revealed the shorter your sleep the shorter your life, so here are 5 tips to help you sleep, work and live better.
1. Drink 3 cups of coffee
I love flat whites, espressos, cappuccinos, filter coffee, iced coffee…So I was smug to learn that up to 3 cups of coffee has little or no effect on sleep.
SleepScore Labs recently studied over 1 million nights of sleep and found that 3 or fewer cups of coffee didn’t notably affect average sleep time – but those who drank four cups or more slept 26 minutes less. Coffee boosts energy, mood and memory which will all help you work better – just make sure you don’t indulge in that 4th cup.
2. Cut down on Netflix & Chill
Technology in the bedroom is a bad idea. Looking at your phone or watching Netflix in bed keeps your brain active and makes it harder to fall asleep. The artificial light from our smartphones and laptops also emit a blue light which messes with our internal biological clock and restrains the production of melatonin in our brains.
Reducing melatonin makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep once you’ve nodded off, so even if you’re not watching anything complex you’re still harming your chances of a restful night’s sleep. Give your brain a break and try and avoid screens for at least 30 minutes before bed on a work night.
3. Stop hitting snooze
When I lost my phone for a week recently my first concern was, how will I wake up in the morning? Most of us use our phones as our alarm clocks, and just as many of us avail of the always tempting snooze button. What’s the harm?
Firstly, fragmented sleep, or sleeping then waking then sleeping again, isn’t restful and will only make you more tired. Secondly, associating the sound of your alarm with waking then falling back asleep will, over time, make it much harder to get up. If you are a snoozer try and break the habit and it’ll become easier to get out of bed in the morning.
4. Dream more
If you sleep more you’ll dream more, which in turn improves memory and mood. A recent study proved that disturbing sleeping mice, specifically during the rapid eye movement (REM) phase – the period of sleep when humans dream, can stop the animals remembering things they learned that day.
Dreaming has also been proved to help ease painful memories, reduce the chances of Alzheimer’s disease and increase our creativity. Harness the benefits of dreaming by exercising more – which will in turn aid deeper sleep and more time for dreaming.
5. Find a job you enjoy
Having a good reason to get up and out of bed in the morning means you are more likely to sleep better at night. A new study has reported that people who felt their lives had meaning were 63% less likely to have sleep apnea and 52% less likely to have restless leg syndrome. They also enjoyed a better quality of sleep.
Your purpose in life doesn’t have to be your job, but seeing as it’s where we spend most of our week days finding a job you care about is a big step in the right direction of a good night’s sleep.
It’s not rocket science that we should all pay attention to our sleeping patterns. Turn off your phone, try not to snooze and try and avoid caffeine and you’ll sleep better at night and concentrate better in work.