Sleep Part 2: So Now What?

In the last blog post Sasha Dworkin examined how we sleep and why it's so very important. With this in mind she's come up with some pointers of how to do sleep the right way.

1. Follow the Natural Light

In order to stimulate the production of our melatonin, we need to try to keep to our natural light/dark cycle which is going on outside and stop confusing our brains with light from our TV/tablet/laptop/electric lights.

Advice: Try to switch off your devices and be in the dark around half an hour before you go to sleep.

But if you can’t and you really do need to burn the midnight oil before sleeping…

2. Lose the Blue

Blue light has been shown to have the greatest effect on our circadian rhythm and has also been linked to retinal damage. Too much blue at night will trick your brain out of sleep mode.

Advice: Install apps like f.lux and Twilight which filter out varying amounts of blue light according to the time of day where you are.

3. Be Caffeine-Conscious

We all know that caffeine is a good stimulant, but don’t always think about exactly how long it lasts for. The half-life of caffeine is around 5-6 hours in the body, which means that half the caffeine from your afternoon coffee will still be circulating and working its magic when you really want to be sleeping. This can create a vicious cycle for people who can’t sleep at night and need caffeine to function, resulting in more sleep loss etc.

Advice: After lunch, try to convert to what Dominic calls the “why bothers” - decaffeinated drinks - and confront the decaf stigma head-on.

4. Listen to Your Body

The amount of sleep that we need varies with age and also depends on the individual. The 8 hour average is exactly that - an average.

Advice: The only way to know if you're getting enough sleep is to listen to your body. If you feel sleep-deprived, you probably are. Change up your sleeping pattern until you find your bliss point.

Remember

In the last post I mentioned how pointless it is to replace sleep with work on a long-term basis. These sleep hacks are completely free and don't require a lot of time, so no matter how much you have on, you can now give sleep the love it needs.