We all know that sleep is important. You can ask pretty much any person and they’ll tell you that they really don’t get enough sleep. Between work and constant stimulation from some sort of screen (tv, computer, phone) we all neglect just how much we’re supposed to be sleeping. There’s not one set number for everyone but most sleep studies will tell you that anything less than 7 hours is detrimental for your health and somewhere around 9 hours should be the max. However, people don’t really talk about HOW you should sleep so I’m going to cover that today.
First thing we should discuss is room lighting. Now, most people are pretty good at completely blacking out a room but some of us still prefer to leave some sort of electronics on as we sleep. This is a no no. The brain, like any other muscle, needs to be trained and it also needs to learn how to wind down. The brain needs as little stimulation from blue light (lights coming from a screen) as possible before bed. The parasympathetic nervous system cannot be turned on whilst being stimulated by electronics. This is the part of your nervous system that slows your heart rate, fixes your digestive system and conserves energy. All good things that need to happen when preparing to sleep. This is why reading or better yet meditation is recommended before going to bed. It’s the perfect way to tell your brain it’s time to shut down the engines.
The next crucial point of sleep etiquette is room temperature. There are some sleep studies that will tell you this is actually the most important aspect of getting a good night’s rest. The general range that is most recommended is somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees fahrenheit. This might be a little cold for most of you so it’s something you should definitely experiment with. I know electric bills can kind of govern this point too so start one degree lower than normal for a week and see if you notice any kind of change in your sleep pattern. The benefits of a cool room are significant though. A cool room increases the likelihood that your core body temperature stay at 98.6 or possibly even lower. This is also great for lowering your heart rate and keeping you relaxed.
The last piece about how to sleep is just that: position. The best position is flat on your back. I know that doesn’t seem comfortable for most of you but it really is something you should try weaning yourself towards. Sleeping on your side or belly can cause all kinds of problems for your shoulders and lower back. If you already suffer from these kinds of issues then I would strongly suggest buying a recliner and starting off by sleeping in that before you go right into sleeping on your back in bed. The slight upright position of the recliner can help ease the pain off the shoulders and back and for most people it’s still pretty comfortable.
Try these things out and get some better sleep!