In our everyday lives, we tend to get less sleep than we should. First and foremost, you should try to prioritise getting as much sleep as you need.
The best amount of sleep for you is however much it takes to not feel tired during the day. Try to sleep the same amount every day – even on days off.
When we go a number of days without getting enough sleep, we accumulate “sleep debt”. Having sleep debt makes us less able to function when we’re awake, and what’s more, it poses various risks to our health. Sleeping extra doesn’t prevent sleep debt. It’s best not to think of sleep like money in a bank – we can’t store up sleep to withdraw later.
Tips for a better night's sleep
Careful with Caffeine
Caffeine affects the parts of our brains that are responsible for making us sleepy. It may be good to avoid caffeine starting five to six hours before you go to sleep.
Body Temperature and Sleep
Having a high core body temperature makes it hard to sleep well. Taking a hot bath raises our core temperature, so a bath right before bed can make falling asleep a challenge. Make sure your room is properly aired before turning in for the night.
Bright Light at Night
Our biological clocks are managed by a “master clock” in our brains. Seeing bright light at night throws off this master clock and interferes with sleep. It’s good to avoid screens for an hour before bed and to keep your room as dark as possible before going to sleep.
Sleep and Hunger
Getting to sleep can be hard when you’re very hungry. It may be best to avoid eating dinner too early as well as too late. It’s best to eat dinner three to hour hours before bed at the latest. Digesting our food thoroughly before sleep is important.
Keeping noise to a minimum is an important part of building a sleep-friendly bedroom. If you cannot eliminate nearby sources of noise, consider drowning them out with a fan or white noise machine. Earplugs or headphones are another option to stop sounds from bothering you when you want to sleep.
Exercise provides a natural boost to our body’s serotonin levels, which then improves sleep quality at night. Try the following:
- Stretches and relaxation for 10-15 minutes before bed
- Going out on daily walks
- 15 minutes of resistance/HIIT training every day
- Make sure to not do this too close to bedtime