How To Achieve A Better Nights Sleep

How To Achieve A Better Nights Sleep

“But first, coffee” is a familiar slogan and mantra among working professionals and students.  You only need to search Instagram on a Monday morning, full of images of coffee.  Many people fuel their bodies with caffeine and other drugs to aid them to be hyper-productive to sacrifice sleep, which to them can seem to be a complete waste of valuable time.

Are you the person who is always tired, falls asleep at your desk, or has trouble sleeping?  Or are you the person who associates sleep with weakness, something a tough person can do without?

Some people can live off 4-5 hours sleep and get through the day no worries, while there are some of us who have the standard 7-8 hours, but always feeling this isn’t enough.

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is a saying which has become the attitude of many in the twentieth century.  Sleep is regularly referred to as for the lazy masses who have nothing better to do with their lives.  When did this unhealthy attitude start?

In the eighteenth century, Benjamin Franklin had a favourite saying, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”.  This inventor became famous for the light globe, which enabled him to have less sleep.

The nineteenth century brought us many innovations, such as electricity, railroads and modern machinery, but it also led to exploited workers and the idea that sleep is for the weak.

In the 1980’s, despite the fact there was the booming fitness craze, more people were adopting the attitude “money never sleeps”, and we saw the rise of a global economy that required people to work longer hours than ever.

There were books written to support less sleep, including “Sleep Less, Live More” by Everett Mattlin in 1979.  This book’s research argued against the need for the standard eight hours of sleep per night.

Donald Trump claims his critical ingredient for success has been to work extremely hard and sleep as little as possible.  In his 2004 book “Trump: Think Like a Billionaire” he claims to only sleep between 1.00am and 5.00am and encouraged readers to sleep as little as possible.

Moving forward to today we are becoming more health conscious but live in a society of having our phones glued to our sides every day.  Apple's own Steve Jobs wanted to invent the phone that supplied you with everything you needed to know and removed all other items, such as the alarm clock and the camera, out of your life.  But what we are seeing instead is that people are spending the time on their phones rather than sleeping.

Arianna Huffington states in her book “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time” – “Getting enough sleep isn’t only about feeling better in the mornings, it improves your work performance, health and your relationships.  Similarly, sleep deprivation isn’t a by-product of hard work; rather, it prevents you from reaching your full potential.”

In the book, Arianna explains why sleep is so critical and what you can do achieve more sleep.

So how can you sleep better?

1.    Make Yourself A Sleeping Plan

Sleeping less than six hours a night can hurt your work and life.  Try to organise enough time for a good night’s rest during your busy schedule.

2.    Exercise Regularly

"People sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week," concludes a study by the National Sleep Foundation.

People who exercise regularly sleep more solidly and work efficiency improves due to this deep sleep.

3.    Switch Television To Reading

Tune in only to the shows you want to watch, rather than watching endless hours of tv because you are tired.  Television will stimulate your brain, which can cause sleep apnea, whereas reading will relax your mind and has been proven to be a relaxing way to wind down.

4.    Try Meditation

Meditation is a way to switch your brain off to rest.  To some people, meditation can be in the form of reading, exercise, a massage or relaxing in a warm bath.  No matter what your form of meditation is, find something that relaxes you and your brain to ensure you have a better night sleep.

5.    Have A Hot Shower Before Bed

You won’t only feel cleaner, and the hot water will relax you, the steam will make your head and nostrils, all stimulants for a beautiful night's sleep.

6.    Drink More Water

Being hydrated means your body is working to a better health level.  Try reducing, or cutting out alcohol, which can cause a broken sleep, and switching to herbal teas or water instead.

Further reading: "Dangerously Sleepy" (2014) by Alan Derickson, shines a light on one of the often ignored yet highly relevant legacies of the industrial revolution - a lack of sleep.

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