The Art of getting better sleep

Just as promised in my other article 6 Hours sleep or 8 hours? Here is a further talk on sleep, this time we are dealing with getting a better and qualitative sleep, all things being equal, this should be a long article but I have decided to compress it and hit the points.

Unlike nocturnal animals (night-active), the human body is perfectly programmed to be more effective in the day and less effective at night in the absence of certain stimulants. It is no doubt that the body starts shutting down as night approaches, this is normal and should not be violated given normal conditions, which is quite rare nowadays.

The shut-down…
To be in sleep mode, you body secrets melatonin (why some people take melatonin supplement to help them sleep) and this melatonin secretions can start doing its work over an hour earlier in dim lighting than in normal room light, hence melatonin start secreting as the day gets darker-night approaching is sleep activating. This then brings us to our lists of how to get better sleep with the most important points…

Bedroom lighting
The room should be dim. How dim should your room be? Researcher Joshua Gooley says you should still be able to read a book, but that the fine print might be difficult. To achieve the ideal pre-sleep lighting level, Gooley recommends using a bedside lamp or putting a dimmer on overhead lights.

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After making sure you’ve got sufficiently dim light in the bedroom, pay attention to your bathroom light. If you take a shower at night, or spend any other amount of time in there, bright white light can end that peaceful, sleepy feeling created by a dim bedroom. Warmer, or more yellow light (or a dimmer on the white light) is less jolting.

Get rid of anything with a screen.
The relatively bluer light from computer and tablet screens can interfere with melatonin production more than any other type of light. There’s no clear answer on how much blue light exposure it takes to suppress melatonin. One study says 5 hours. Another says 1-2. A general guideline is to avoid bright screens 2-3 hours before bed. Or, if you absolutely can’t do that, try blue light-blocking glasses or programs that change the color of your screens.

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Besides the light factor, there’s the distraction of having a device right by your side that you can use to communicate with anyone, at any time. 67% of 19-29-year-olds say they take their phones to bed. Not surprising, right? If anything, that percentage seems a little low.

The most popular use of the cell phone in bed? Texting. Unfortunately, people who text in the hour before bed every night or almost every night are less likely to say they get good sleep, and more likely to be classified as “sleepy” on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.

If you absolutely have to take your phone or iPad to bed with you (and I’m guessing you are—habits die hard) turn the brightness down and hold it at least 14 inches away from your face. This reduces the brightness to a level that doesn’t mess with melatonin production as much.

Pillows
If the importance of pillows inspires you to go shopping, be prepared to be overwhelmed. On Amazon alone, there are 11,210 results for “pillow” in the “Health & Personal Care” category.

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There’s pretty much no objective way to define a “good” pillow. One study recommended a pillow with an indentation to support the neck for people who tend to sleep on their back or side. 32 Another found that rubber pillows got high marks for general comfort.33 Another said anything but feather pillows.34

To save you some time, (and possibly money by preventing a bad purchase) Nick Robinson, creator of the website Sleep Like the Dead aggregated more than 21,000 consumer reviews from sites like Amazon and Overstock into a table that scores nine types of pillows in 21 categories.35

For example, if you wanted to find a pillow that online reviewers says reduces pain or is good for sleeping on your stomach, the table can point you to a category of pillow (say, a down alternative) and then towards a specific brand. adapted from 75ToGo

Room Temperature
If you like to sleep with typical blankets, the ideal sleep temperature appears to be between 60.8 and 66.2 degrees in Fahrenheit or 16-20 degrees thereabouts in Celsius at night. If you’re the rare person that sleeps naked like me and sometimes with no covers, something like 86-89.6 degrees is better (about 30-31 deg Celsius). And if you sleep with just a sheet over yourself, you’ll probably be best off somewhere in between.

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If the weather or climate is too hot, get a Fan or air conditioner or if you can, get a thermostat for the best and temperature maintenance.

If you sleep with a partner, there’s always a chance that no amount of thermostat adjusting will make you both happy. One interesting option: regulating mattress temperature. The ChiliPad and the Outlast mattress pad both go over your existing mattress and use different technologies to adjust temperature for hot and cold sleepers.

The Mind

freeyourmind-text.pngClear your mind as hard as it may be to do so. The mind is a battlefield according to T. D. Jakes…says that is why some people can get sleep but don’t get rest, they sleep tired and wake up tired, because the mind was at war and in distress. This also affects our quickness to sleep, which will be discussed in a later article.

If the above mentioned criteria and maybe a few others are not met, one could still get a refreshing sleep. One reason among others why people can still sleep deeply and even quickly in the absence of the above conditions can be due to excessive tiredness and stress, causing a secretion of stress hormone. Stress hormone coupled with sleep desire can put one to sleep even in unfavourable conditions but stress on its own is not a good thing and is detrimental to health which means we will have to discuss it later.

Keep coming back for insights and information, it only gets better. Comments, questions and suggestions are always welcomed. Thanks for coming around. Stay tuned.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. dynaxty says:

    I have nominated you for the Liebster award. You can read the details here

    Thanks and stay blessed #Peace

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, I will keep the trend going

      Like

      1. dynaxty says:

        You are most welcome, God bless you! #Peace

        Liked by 1 person

  2. dynaxty says:

    Topnotch! informative! Thanks and keep giving us the best. Peace!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad at your comment buddy. Thanks a lot and I’ll keep doing my best. All the best to you man.

      Like

  3. Hello Chinedu. Very interesting information. I have struggled to get a good nights sleep for many years, and have experienced insomnia too. I think my problem is going to bed feeling stressed, or worrying I won’t wake up to my alarm. However, we recently bought some new pillows that offer more support, and they were definitely worth the extra we spent on them – even if I am struggling to sleep, I am so much more comfortable, and feel more rested.
    Thanks for sharing
    Carly

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad hearing that. Health is never expensive compared to ignorance. Keep up a healthy lifestyle it affects others positively. Thanks for taking you time to read.
      Victor

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! This is interesting. I fall under the category of those who sleep very late at night (late night surfing the net/txting). I really need to curb this habit, cos it leaves me so tired in the morning. The times I slept early, I noticed i woke up energetic,happy and had a super stress free day. Chinedu, thank you for this very informative post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are welcome. I am glad you do find it useful. Thanks

      Like

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