More like team you’ll-regret-it-if-you-don’t
Sleep, the sacrificial lamb offered up to the gods of productivity and work-life balance, usually bears the brunt in the name of getting more done in the day. But those all-nighters, streaks of running on four hours of sleep and sporadic power naps have karma written all over them. Mental health on top of physical well-being––think long-term adverse effects––make for the slow-creeping payoff.
Regarding what is now called a sleep-loss epidemic, insomniacs and self-proclaimed night owls aren’t the only ones susceptible to missing out on a good night’s rest. While quantity-oriented reports dictate eight hours of sleep is the magic number for beauty rest, some disregard the impact of the quality of rest people get…or don’t get.
Difficulty dozing off, waking up in the middle of the night, having trouble going back to sleep and drowsiness during the day that no nap can fix are all signs of poor quality of sleep that, again, can occur well within the realm of the full eight hours.
On both fronts, Filipinos receive the short end of the stick. A 2018 study by the Philippine Society of Sleep Medicine Inc. reported that Filipinos make some of the worst sleepers in the world. Over 50 million Filipinos get an average of only six hours and 22 minutes of sleep a night. Poor quality of sleep, meanwhile, is prevalent among shift workers, crew members of advertising, television and film industries and information technology-oriented or always-on office workers in the country who throw their sleep patterns out of whack and don’t get to thoroughly recuperate in the process.
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The effects of lack of sleep are bigger than the grogginess that follows and far graver than a temporary mood swing. Short-term effects like decreased mental acuity, memory loss, fatigue and sleep loss-induced anxiety are just the tip of the iceberg. The long-term effects are just as grim with the sleep deprived being at a higher risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, diabetes and heart disease. Anyone else suddenly hard-pressed on getting good sleep now?
As science lays down the enlightening pros of good sleep and frightening cons of missing out on it, it rightfully provides proven ways to get better at getting a good night’s rest. Ahead, the elements of quality sleep you can start adopting right now.
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The human body is designed to power down, not completely shut off.
Getting a good night’s rest involves a thoughtful consideration of what you have on your plate (figurative or otherwise) up to six hours before your target bedtime. Consider the timetable below and start implementing cutoffs for your activities:
Cap off your day with a warm shower.
Warm showers relieve tension in the body, lower any swelling in the muscles and reduce anxiety—the recipe for a well-rested body and good sleep.
Go the extra mile and make sure your room doesn’t only look sleep-ready, but smells sleep-ready, too.
Spring for a bedroom essential oil diffuser and set it up 30 to 40 minutes before bedtime. If you don’t have one at home, you can alternatively add two drops of your essential oil of choice into the palm of your hand, warm the oil up by rubbing your hands together, cup them around your nose and breathe in deeply. The best candidate for good sleep? Lavender, Sweet Marjoram, Roman Chamomile and Valerian. The aromas of these essential oils are known to induce sleep and they’re readily available in stores like Healthy Options and Milea Bath and Body Wellness.
Down a glass of water.
Since the body undergoes repair during sleep, drinking a glass of water beforehand gives it that boost, helps balance out energy levels and hormones and replenishes fluids used up during the day.
Try a natural sleep aid.
Melatonin, a hormone naturally produced by the body, helps control sleep and wake cycles, which makes supplements for it perfect for those dealing with occasional sleep troubles like jet lag. Regardless, melatonin won’t kick in in a well-lit room (so when you say lights out, mean it).
Keep away from your electronics, so no late-night scrolling, please.
Blue light emitted by electronic gadgets affects the regular production of melatonin in the body and signals it to stay alert and awake for far longer than it needs to be. Scrolling through Facebook in bed, for example, may appear like an ideal powering down scenario for some, but in reality, it’s not good practice.
Leave your phone on a table across the room, not right next to you.
Not only will this keep you from reaching for it when you can’t fall asleep or when notifications go off (in which case, Sleep mode should come in handy), but if you set your morning alarm on your phone, you will have no choice but to get up and walk over to it shut it off. That short walk, a small burst of out-of-bed activity, is enough to wake up the body.
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Just some simple, easy-to-follow steps with some worthwhile effects you’ll thank yourself for later.
Art Alexandra Lara