If you’re anything like us you feel like it’s your civic duty to be clued up on what’s happening in the world.
So you trawl one news site after another, digest opinion pieces, watch memes, basically consuming everything you can to stay on top of, well, everything. Sure, it’s great for dinner party conversation but NOT exactly conducive to a good night’s sleep.
It also turns out that a scary number of people (yes that includes you) aren’t even getting your full REM’s worth of sleep each night — usually coasting somewhere on Stage 1 on the sleep scale, impacting moods, ruining skin, potential jobs and their relationships.
It’s enough to keep you up at night.
We turned to Shea Morrison, a sleep specialist and founder of The Goodnight Co—a brand wholly dedicated to the wellness benefits of the good rest, for her advice on walking the tightrope between being always informed but also completely shutting off at night.
Hi Shea, I feel like I already know the answer to this but does this mean I can never fall asleep scrolling on my phone again?
While we don’t want to be the bearer of bad news and don’t want to tell anyone they can’t do something. We DO want people to be aware of the impacts of scrolling on devices before going to bed/sleep.
In a nutshell, the screens are suppressing the release of melatonin (which is an important hormone that helps to make us feel sleepy).
A lot of people we talk to say that they just never feel tired and or really struggle to fall asleep and when we scratch the surface, we find that most of these people are either watching TV, playing games on their laptop or scrolling on their phones.
The blue light emitted by screens on all devices restrains the production of melatonin and reducing melatonin makes it harder to fall and stay asleep.
Okay, what if I refuse to give up my phone. Is there something I can look at before bed that will actually HELP me sleep?
If you simply can’t give up scrolling, we recommend trying to at least minimise the amount of time you spend on it directly before you go to bed. The recommended time for cutting out devices and screens is 2 hours before going to sleep, so even if you could work for 30 minutes…
What does a completely restful night’s sleep feel like?
Having a great night’s sleep means waking up feeling and looking refreshed and ready to tackle the day. In an ideal world, we want to be aiming for 7 – 9 hours sleep a night (this is a personal thing and important for each individual to work out their optimal amount of sleep required to feel good).
We are also looking at reducing the number of disturbances causing wake-ups and restfulness during the night—for example, a snoring partner, a pet in the bed, or a child. Restless sleep is less restorative than uninterrupted sleep, and it’s usually the cause of daytime sleepiness.
To improve your chances of getting restful sleep look at:
- Optimising your sleep environment by aiming sure your mattress is comfortable and your bedroom is cool, quiet and dark.
- Avoid spicy, heavy meals and alcohol close to bedtime, and caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
- Try to complete any exercise at least 1-2 hour before bedtime.
- And of course, limit the screen time. That’s a big one.
What are your never fail pre-bedtime routines to promote a completely restful night’s sleep?
Plan ahead, the best night sleep can start in the morning!
Set your intention in the morning to get a good night sleep. Keep hydrated and stress-free during the day (an increase in cortisol can cause anxiety and make it harder to get a deep restorative sleep).
Look at ways to manage your stress and anxiety throughout the day, take breaks from your work, get some sunshine and, if you need, use aromatherapy to remain calm. Also, reduce caffeine after 2 pm.
Look forward to going to bed. Prepare a healthy balanced meal with a mix of protein, vegetables and carbs, and try to avoid alcohol. Dim lights in the house and prepare for bed by having a warm shower or bath, sip on some herbal tea and read a good book.
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