You don’t have to look far to find some rogue pop “doctor” telling you that getting more sleep is the cure for everything that ails you.
But we think we’ve actually found something legit.
Study upon study will tell you that the majority of adults function at their best when they sleep seven hours per night on a consistent basis. We’ve even given you some of the best reasons around. But with busy schedules, snoring bedmates and a list of other irritants, we can miss that mark even with the best of intentions.
We’ve all read the generic tips and tricks on how to get more sleep, but they’re never geared at us: the busy young professional. Which is why it’s a good thing you’re reading our list, because we’ve got your Zzzzs in mind…
1. Sleep With Your Smartphone
But, but, I thought that was bad for you? We don’t mean leaving your phone on high volume so that Facebook notifications can keep you company in bed. We’re pretty sure it’s good advice to keep your device on airplane mode after bedtime, but don’t discount the power of a good app to improve your sleep routine. We sifted through the daunting list of sleep-aid apps on the market right now, and dug out the coolest ones.
Want to prove to your partner that they do make weird noises at night? Like most sleep-related apps, Smart Alarm Clock measures your sleep patterns and offers a gentle, gradual alarm, but this one also records any audible disturbances so you can replay them in the AM.
If you feel like playing DJ, try Relax Melodies to create your ideal playlist of crashing waves and soft steel drums to soothe yourself to a deep state of REM. And if you want to play doctor (get your mind out of the gutter), Beddit provides you with data about your movement, heart rate and breathing so that you can analyze it and follow their tips to adjust as necessary.
It’s a technophile’s dream if you want it to be.
2. What Happens in the Bedroom…
If cuddling up to a handheld device isn’t your thing, your secret to sleep success could be in your space.
Just like Christine Magee has been telling us for years, we spend a lot of time in bed, so we should spend the right amount of resources making sure we have the right one. If you’re having trouble sleeping on the futon you bought in university, this might be an easy fix. Assess your mattress and pillows and see if that’s the source of your problem, and if so, make the worthwhile investment to get yourself a grownup bed.
While you’re at it, the rest of your room could use an assessment of its own. The colour of your walls, though it may match your furniture, might not match the rules for a restful sleep. Light blues and greens are ideal for soothing you into a longer sleep, while royal blue/purple, though pretty, could be robbing you of your zzzs.
We’re dreaming of a winter weekend project in your near future.
In the meantime, try a quicker fix: aromatherapy. Lavender, bergamot, vanilla, and chamomile are a few of the most calming scents, so infusing them into your moderate-temperature air could make a big difference.
Purifying that air of allergens is another good idea if you’re plagued with sinus issues. And generally keeping your space clutter-free will give you one less thing to stress out about when you’re heading to dreamland.
We hate it when we realize our mother was right.
Give Your Body Some Love
Sorry for being Captain Obvious again, but we’re about to tell you to exercise and quit smoking. Isn’t it funny how it all comes full circle?
Getting an aerobic workout at least four times a week has been linked to overall improvements in sleep, but only if you schedule them at least an hour before you hit the sack. We’re all aware of the mental and physical benefits of pumping up your heart rate, so here’s another one to add to the list to keep you motivated.
And smokers, we know you get picked on a lot, but we just keep finding good reasons to do it. Studies have shown that smokers are prone to interrupted sleeps, likely due to nicotine withdrawals occurring overnight that disturb the system. Smoking regularly also affects your respiratory system, which can lead to sleep apnea.
Aka: you’re more likely to snore.
And let’s be honest, no one likes to sleep beside someone who’s snoring. So if you need yet another reason to kick the habit, we just gave you a good one.
If you’ve tried all of these strategies and you’re still counting more sheep than you’d like to, it might be worth seeing a doctor. Insomnia is a very real condition that can affect your overall health.
Oh also, we hope you’re not reading this article in bed. Screen time doesn’t help your mind relax either. Best to get all your Notable reading done before you hit the hay…
Cover image from: istock.com/Kladyk