Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. As well as boosting your immune system, getting enough quality sleep can help prevent weight gain, strengthen your heart, improve your mood, increase productivity, boost exercise performance, and even improve your memory.
Experts recommend between 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night, yet research consistently shows that millions of adults around the world are not sleeping as well, or as much, as they should.
Since launching its early sleep tracking features in 2009, Fitbit has tracked more than 15 billion nights of sleep. Beyond helping users understand their individualized sleep patterns and the role of sleep in their overall health, this has given Fitbit tremendous insight into the science of sleep at a population level, and there are some simple lifestyle changes that can make a big difference to people’s quality of sleep.
To mark World Sleep Day, Dr. Conor Heneghan, PhD, Lead Sleep Research Scientist at Fitbit shares his top six quick fixes for a better night’s shut eye:
1. Stick to a sleep routine
Having a set bedtime is key. “It’s important to keep a consistent sleep cycle; people who go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time, tend to sleep more efficiently” Dr. Heneghan says.
And he recommends trying to stick to it, regardless of the day of the week: “one significant source of variability is called ‘social jet lag,’ brought on by the shift in sleep schedules experienced on weekends versus workdays, which can impact your sleep schedule.”
2. Avoid alcohol before bed
“Alcohol does help people fall asleep a bit quicker, but then they get much more restless sleep during the night. The overall effect is negative,” says Dr Heneghan, so it’s better to avoid alcohol in the hours before bed for the best night’s rest.
Avoiding screen time just before bed is already well known. But for the hour preceding your bedtime, Dr. Heneghan also recommends having a wind-down routine, keeping light levels low and avoiding other forms of stimulation: “light levels stimulate the hormones that keep us awake,” Dr. Heneghan says. “In the hour before bed, you need to do all you can to lower the mental stimulation. Darkness is also essential for the body to wind down, including shutting down electronics to make your bed a sleep zone.”
4. Check the temperature
Did you know that lower temperatures are better for sleeping? “Check the temperature of the room,” Dr. Heneghan recommends. “Turning down the thermostat slightly or using a fan to circulate air may be an easy way to help improve your sleep quality.”
5. Resist the urge to hit ‘snooze’
“In addition to going to bed earlier, it’s important to keep a consistent wake time – keeping your circadian clock dialed in is extremely important for upholding quality sleep,” Dr. Heneghan says.
For many people, this means resisting the temptation to hit the ‘snooze’ button.
“Many people set multiple alarms in the morning because they still feel tired when they wake up and think that snoozing their alarm will give them extra minutes of sleep back,” Dr. Heneghan says. “While this is fairly common, this inconsistency of sleeping and waking can be disruptive to your sleep cycle – it’s important to remember that you won’t gain much back when snoozing for a few minutes.”
His solution? “Set one alarm for the latest time you can wake up and be consistent.”
6. Check your progress
Image credit: Shopee
Apps and devices like Fitbit help you to understand the quality of your sleep and spot patterns and areas to improve. Fitbit’s 24/7 measurements allow you to study your sleep patterns in great detail or survey your level through a one-to-100 score, which is useful both for setting a baseline and checking your progress.
Check out Fitbit’s range of devices on Shopee.
Article contributed by Fitbit.
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