With plenty of talk regarding sleep and health in the headlines, many of us are trying to make the effort to get enough shut-eye every night. However, busy schedules, alluring electronics, addictive social media, daily stressors and sometimes even family can push high-quality sleep further and further away.
Recently, The Wall Street Journal sat down with sleep expert, Dr. Rafael Pelayo, a sleep medicine professor at the Stanford School of Medicine, who shared noteworthy advice on making sure your bedtime stays on track with your needs. Here’s what you should know:
Your Brain Keeps Time: The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) actually ticks, keeping to a time schedule 24 hours and 10 minutes a day. This internal clock lets us know when it’s nighttime so we’ll get naturally get sleepy. Sticking to the same bedtime and wake up time is a great way to keep your clock in sync, allowing you to get better sleep.
Don’t Go to Bed Too Early: Dr.Pelayo says that this is a huge mistake, forcing the body to fall asleep before its ready. To go to bed at the right time, he suggests locking in the time you want to wake up first. Then count back how many hours you’d like to sleep, subtracting an additional 10-15 minutes from that. If you’d like to wake up at 7:30am, sleeping 7.5 hours, set your bedtime for 11:45 pm.
Worry Like An 8 year-old: Children are often the best sleepers, with no worries and plenty of time on their hands to get comfortable. Let your stressors go at night, keep your mind at ease and commit to making time for sleep. Add mediation or a gratitude journal to your bedtime routine to think happy before bed. And, don’t forget to wake up at the same time every morning!
Embrace the joy of sleep, as you promote healthy sleep habits in your household. Sleep helps keep the doctor away, increases your chances of success at work, boosts grades, keeps you happy and it simply feels amazing! Climb into bed early tonight to collect 7-9 hours of high-quality shut-eye!