Because sleep needs no justification; you just do because you’re a person that needs rest to feel good, operate and thrive
“I didn’t sleep!” was something I used to hear people say like it was a badge of honor. Doing more and sleeping less was (and maybe still is) the norm for some cultures or people. And while late nights are sometimes inevitable because of school or work, you’ve just had a baby and it’s your first night out in a very long time, advocating for no sleep in the name of hustle culture or because you can is not something your body will thank you for.
For one, sleeping less than six or seven hours a night demolishes your immune system. What’s more, insufficient sleep has been linked to daytime fatigue, depression, lack of focus, lower productivity, memory issues—and also doubles your risk of cancer. Sleep needs no justification; you don’t need to be exhausted or dead tired before you can go to sleep. You just do it because you’re a person that needs rest to feel good, operate and thrive.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s get to the part where we talk about how to actually get a good night’s sleep. Ahead, the how according to science and our Sleep Expert friends from Emma Sleep.
Go easy on the sweets
If you want quality sleep, the kind where you don’t toss and turn at an ungodly hour, it’s important to watch your sugar intake. We learned from Sleep.org that the more sugar you eat in the day, the more often you’re going to wake up between zzz’s. Too much sugar can also pull you out of a deep sleep, which the body needs to recover and maintain a healthy metabolism.
Don’t drink alcohol right before bedtime
Sure you might fall asleep with some help from a glass of wine or whiskey. But you’re actually more likely to wake up in the middle of the night when the alcohol wears off.
Minerals, particularly magnesium, might help
According to a research paper by Wacker and Parisi, magnesium deficiency can cause behavioral disturbances, depression, headaches, irritability and muscle cramps among others. Dubbed the OG chill pill, magnesium might just be what you need for a good night’s rest.
Make your bedroom sleep ready
Per Emma Sleep Experts, “a cool temperature is ideal because your body’s internal temperature shifts during a 24-hour period and your body sheds warmth as you go to bed. If the temperature in a room is too hot or too cold, it can affect your body’s drop in temperature and disrupt sleep.” So set the bedroom temperature to cool or at 18 degrees Celsius an hour or at least several minutes before you hit the sack. Get cold easily? Consider investing in a weighted blanket that not only keeps you warm, but feels like a hug too.
Shut off devices before bed
You’ve heard this one before but in case you need a reminder, allow Emma Sleep Experts to say it again: “light is important for signaling and controlling our sleep-wake cycles. This is because it affects the production of melatonin—the hormone that gives daily and seasonal time cues. Melatonin production slowly increases at the onset of darkness as light exposure diminishes, thus promoting sleep.”
Get yourself sleep-ready
Clear your head and get your thoughts off your head and onto paper. A warm or hot bath helps, too.
Try breathing exercises
Emma Sleep Experts recommend the 4-7-8 breathing technique, “a variation of an ancient yogic technique that helps people relax as oxygen is replenished in the body.” Here’s how the technique is done:
- Gently part your lips
- Exhale completely
- Press your lips together, then silently inhale through the nose for about four (4) seconds
- Hold your breath for about seven (7) seconds
- Exhale for eight (8) seconds.
- Repeat four (4) times when you first start and slowly work your way up to eight (8) repetitions.
Let me go straight to the facts about the sleep quality of people who follow a consistent routine or move regularly. They have:
- 55% faster time of falling asleep
- 30% decrease in total wake time during sleep
- 18% increase in total sleep time
- 13% increase in sleep efficiency
Invest in your sleep
We’re talking feel-good sheets, pillows and mattresses. On the latter, Emma Sleep Experts share, “there’s no clear-cut criteria for a good mattress, as every person is different. The right mattress should provide ultimate comfort while alleviates pressure from your muscles, aligns your spine with your neck, and reduces back pain. Majority prefer mattresses with medium firmness, and they’re suitable for side, stomach and back sleepers.”
We recommend the Emma Original, a medium-firm mattress that has three layers of pressure-relieving memory foam with 7-zone technology that adapt to your body and sleeping position. The best part, Emma Sleep offers a 100-day money-back guarantee that allows you to try the Emma Original Mattress at home and return it if your sleep doesn’t improve.
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To flip the script, sleep is not for the weak. Sleep is comforting and critical to our overall well-being. Sleep is for everyone. And Emma Sleep Experts agree, saying that “many take sleep for granted because of many other activities and responsibilities they have going on in the day. However, little do we realize we spend approximately a third of our life sleeping. This puts into perspective how rest fuels the other two-thirds of our everyday lives.”
So work hard and have fun but also, sleep well.
Art Matthew Fetalver