Sleep is one of life’s puzzles. We spend a third of our lives doing it, but it doesn’t always come easily. And while great sleep makes you feel on top of the world, bad sleep can throw your whole day off balance. Luckily, getting good rest needn’t be a mystery. There are practical steps you can take to improve your sleep and get the refreshment you need.
Few are better qualified on the topic than Dr. Roy Raymann, PhD. The chief Scientific Officer at SleepScore Labs, Endel’s scientific partner, this so-called “Sleep Czar” knows everything there is to know about getting the best sleep possible. In this 3-part Sleep Improvement Plan, he looks at the art and science of good sleep from every angle. Trying just a few of these simple tips could improve your sleep in a matter of days.
In the first part of the plan, we look at a crucial moment in your sleeping schedule: the pre-bedtime ritual. What you do before bed is as important as the moment your head hits the pillow. If you get things set up right, you should drift off to sleep almost without noticing. Read on for advice on sleep rhythm and routine, deep breathing, and the role your smartphone can play.
Get the hours you need
Ideally we should all be getting 7 or more hours of sleep per night. Those who do enjoy a variety of benefits, from increased energy and brighter skin to clearer thinking and a creativity boost. Getting these 7 hours means scheduling 8 hours in bed: it takes some time to fall asleep, plus we tend to wake up a few times during the night (often without remembering it). Setting a daily bedtime reminder will help you make the time to get the sleep you need.
Build a wind-down routine
The process of going to sleep starts well before you turn the lights out. It’s scientifically proven that the time you spend winding down before bed is as important as sleep itself. As you begin to wind down, your body gets the message and starts preparing for sleep, helping it to keep all of its sleep-related processes in sync. Endel’s Wind Down soundscape is scientifically engineered to accompany and enhance this process, helping you to let go of the day and get into sleep flow. For best effects, try listening to it around 2 hours before bedtime.
A simple breathing exercise can do wonders for your mind and body. Why not try it right now: take a few slow, deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your nose or mouth. Make sure to take plenty of time exhaling. This simple exercise can help you to relax and de-stress, creating a peaceful moment in your day.
Breathing exercises are an effective part of your pre-bedtime ritual because of the way they affect your nervous system. When active and alert during the day, your sympathetic nervous system is engaged. Changing your breathing pattern tips the balance towards the parasympathetic nervous system, which is associated with feeling relaxed and restful, and is a gateway to sleep. While winding down, practice gradually slowing your pace of breathing and lengthening your exhalation to help you slip into a restful sleep.
Be smart with your smartphone
The bright glow of a screen before bed can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime. Use blue light screen filters or dark mode options to reduce your phone’s impact on your sleep. Switching on Do Not Disturb mode can also help keep the stresses of daily life at bay. Try not to use your phone for stimulating activities while winding down: it should help the process along rather than disrupting it. Endel’s Sleep soundscape can be a great companion.
Did you find these tips helpful? Read parts 2 and 3 of the Sleep Improvement Plan for more advice on getting the rest you need.