by Moksh Mehta
Many of us focus on the quantity of sleep we get. We aim for at least 7 hours of sleep every night. But, do we stop and think about the quality of sleep we get? Only maintaining sleep quantity but not quality is like saying 'I will exercise every day for 30 mins,' but without specifying the intensity of your movement! In 30 mins you could take a slow walk or you could run 5 kms. Many of us today approach sleep in the same way, and it limits our ability to rest deeply and feel fresh for the next day. Not to mention the importance of sleep for immune function, especially important during this pandemic!
There are many simple techniques that you can use to improve your sleep quality.
Light is likely the most important stimulus to our body when it comes to sleep and our day-night rhythm.
Artificial light at night, including that emitted by screens:
- Hampers our sleep quality and leaves us tired, with hampered performance the next morning.
- Affects our body temperature regulation, blood pressure, and glucose levels.
Filter blue light on your devices
How to filter blue light on iOS: 'Twilight' app on Android, Desktop computer - 'F.lux' software
Tape over any lights in your room
Taping over any small lights reduces the light burden that we are exposed to during the night.
Use a sleep mask
This is especially important when your room doesn't get dark enough. How do you know your room is dark enough? If you can see your palm when your arm is stretched, use a mask.
Use white noise
Especially if you live and sleep in a noisy environment, using a white noise app on your phone reduces the noise stress during the night.
I use the app sleepspace. com
Change to a gradual alarm
Using a gradual alarm reduces the stress we experience in the morning and reduces the grogginess we experience when we're jolted awake by our alarms.
There is a gradual alarm feature in the SleepSpace app that I recommend and use.
Schedule 'Do Not Disturb' on your devices
This will limit pesky notifications during a set time period (eg. 10 pm to 6 am) so you can sleep undisturbed.
It is well known that sleeping in a cooler room improves sleep quality. One thing you can do is lower the AC temperature to between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius, which is the sweet spot for good sleep.
Another thing you can do is opt for a thinner blanket allowing better air circulation around your body and thus more comfortable sleep and fewer night sweats.
Get a mouth guard
Using a mouth guard is especially useful for those who grind their teeth, snore, or have jaw or airway issues or discomfort. It prevents stress on your jaws and can help people with TMJ too.
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