What’s the most common mistake you see people making that leads to trouble falling asleep?
Living in 24 hours sleepless urban society, not paying the attention sleep deserves is a commonplace. A lot factors contribute to the reduced total sleep time. To name a few: excessive use of technology, social media exposure, demanding corporate jobs, prolonged work hours, increasing obesity, sedentary lifestyles, substance abuse, and global travel across time zones. These factors are all contributing for sleep disorders.
Because of sleep insufficiency, many people living in cities (even the younger folks) are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as depression, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, to the worse, form cancer, increased mortality, All these leads to reduced quality of life and productivity. Naturally, sleep cycle for us are set from sunset to sunrise, regulating homeostatic and circadian drive for ideal physiology. However, we’re burning the candle at both ends in the modern era. It’s all due to social and work stressors that turn our society into 24-hour running machine.
We require a consistent effort to sleep and maintain a sleep-wake schedule at the same time.
Recent studies have shown that disturbance of the sleep cycle or delayed sleep circadian phase will result adverse effects on the metabolic functions of the body.
How much do you think room temperature affects sleep quality?
A dip in body temperature will improve sleep overall. A cooler environment facilitates sleep onset. A cool room, close to 65°F/19°C is optimum for sleep.
Body temperature decrease as we become drowsy and often meet its lowest at around 5:00 a.m., then start climbing as the sunrise. A hot environment may interfere with our body’s natural temperature drop and kind of irritate us throughout the night. Each of us has a slightly different optimal temperature threshold.
What will the effect be if we choose right outfit for our sleep?
Selecting sleep wears is very personal.
There isn’t a lot of scientific evidence to prove that what clothes will help you sleep better than another, however people do seem to rest easier on clothes that made with fabric that are ventilating and soft.
We should all pay attention to the materials in our sleep wears. Fabric that are too stiff, like t-shirt we wear out, tend to be less ventilating than fabrics used particular for sleep wear. Also, softer fabric causes less scratchy feeling that we can sense during sleep, we are not still even when we are sleeping right? More relaxed fitted clothes help us with better blood regulation and ventilation, we can sleep better in less tight clothes. If you have allergies, it’s definitely worth it to invest in a high quality silk and cotton sleep wears for better sleep.
Does diet affect sleep at all? In what ways?
You’re right! Take bedtime milk as an example, it is based in scientific fact — the calcium in milk helps with the production of melatonin (a sleep hormone) and tryptophan (for production of melatonin). Foods that are rich in tryptophan like chicken, turkey, eggs, almonds and soybeans can be good for sleep. Also foods that are rich in melatonin such as ginger root, walnuts, peanuts, cherry juice, and fresh mint.
Caffeine and alcohol highly likely affect sleep. Limit caffeine to before 3pm is a good habit for a good rest at night. And while alcohol can help us fall asleep faster, it actually make us wake up more. So, you’re actually sleeping less than you would have if you’d abstained from alcohol that night.
Finally, it is easier falling asleep feeling without hunger. Having regular evening meal and small portion of snack before bedtime can actually improve sleep!
5 Expert Tips for Falling Asleep Faster
Step 1: Schedule your regular sleep time.
An irregular schedule can disrupt the circadian rhythm (darkness activates melatonin production, preparing us for sleep). When we curtail our total sleep time, we accumulate “sleep debt”, so it’s important to set a regular bedtime and wake time and stick to it.
Step 2: Develop a relaxing bedtime routine.
Stress causes the hypothalamus to release corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH), which stimulates the pituitary to release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which then induces the adrenal glands to release cortisol and other stress hormones that promote wakefulness… in other words, stress makes it harder to fall asleep. Resolve worries before bedtime whenever possible — no stressful pillow talk! Try and develop a bedtime routine that relaxes you. Take a warm bath or sip a hot cup of (de-caffeinated!) tea.
Step 3: Stop using your bed as a home office.
Getting into bed should trigger your body to relax for sleep. Protect those delicate associations by only using your bed for sleep and intimacy.
Step 4: Work out in the morning instead of the evening.
Exercise smart — morning exercise in the sunlight is the ideal way to start your day. Most people should avoid strenuous workouts in the late evening or right before bed — no 24 hour gyms!
The increase in body temperature that comes with cardio workouts and stimulation can interfere with sleep onset. Try moving your workouts to before noon for optimum sleep.
Step 5: Stop looking at your phone in bed.
Use of electronic gadgets with a back-lit display (computers, phones, tablets, televisions) for two hours before bed has been found to cause a significant suppression of melatonin, causing sleep disturbances. Research has found that monochromatic blue light suppresses melatonin production as well.
Try putting your phone out of reach before getting into bed. Keep electronics usage to a minimum or completely eliminate blue light (alarms, TVs, laptops) after dark.