Get Better Sleep: 5 Powerful New Tips From Research
Eric Barker stashed this in Diabolical Plans For World Domination
The #1 Mistake That’s Screwing Up Your Sleep: Blue Light
If you’re already exhausted, here’s the main takeaway you need from this interview:
Your smartphone is the devil. Your iPad is Lucifer. Your TV cackles with glee when you have insomnia.
They all give off blue light that your brain mistakes for sunshine. And that tells your grey blob it’s time to wake up, not go to bed.
Stay away from them during the hour before you try to nod off. Here’s Richard:
Ten minutes of a smartphone in front of your nose is about the equivalent of an hour long walk in bright daylight. Imagine going for an hour long walk in bright daylight and then thinking, “Now I’ll get some sleep.” It ain’t going to happen. In the middle of the night you wake up and think, “Aw, I’ll just check Twitter, email or Facebook,” and, of course, you’re being flooded with that blue light. You’re not going to be getting back to sleep very easily up for the next hour or so.
So your smartphone is the devil? Okay, not really. In fact, sometimes it can be the best friend your sleep schedule has. Huh?
When you’re dealing with jet lag, I encourage you to indulge in all the blue light device bliss you so urgently crave.
They can help shift your circadian rhythm forward. Awesome, right? Your phone has a new feature you didn’t even know about. Here’s Richard:
You can use that blue light to your advantage, because when you’re bathed in blue light you become more alert. To get your circadian rhythm where it needs to be in the new time zone you can stimulate yourself with the blue light from smartphones and iPads.
(To learn the 4 things astronauts can teach you about a good night’s sleep, click here.)
Gretchen Rubin has said the same thing about blue light, btw.
A Good Nightly Routine Is Key
Just like a good morning routine is incredible powerful, one before bed is a game changer as well. First step?
No booze. It seems like it helps but it’s actually a big no-no. Here’s Richard:
Drinking alcohol an hour or two before you go to bed is not a good idea. You’ll fall asleep quicker, but it keeps you out of deep sleep. In the morning you wake up feeling pretty terrible.
Richard says thinking positive thoughts before you go to bed is helpful and can promote good dreams. One of the biggest things that causes insomnia is that anxiety about getting to bed.
When those awful thoughts start running through your head at night, try this little game. Here’s Richard:
Just think about a country or a vegetable or a fruit for each letter of the alphabet. You just slowly work your way through and that can take your mind off negative thoughts.
Worrying keeping you awake? Richard says to keep a pad and pen by the bed and write those thoughts down to dismiss them. Mindfulness training can help with this too so give meditation a try. (Here’s how.)
Still can’t sleep? Get up. Don’t accidentally make a Pavlov-style association between your bed and *not* sleeping. Here’s Richard:
The issue is often they’re staying in bed awake for ten minutes or more and they start to associate bed with being awake instead of being asleep. Get up, do something which is not stimulating, and then get back to bed.
(For more science-backed tips on a nightly routine that will bring you amazing sleep, click here.)
Great tips. These are really useful
Thank you. I think so too!
Here’s what Richard Wiseman had to say about getting more quality zzzzzzzz’s:
- Avoid smartphones and devices at night. But they’re great when you’re dealing with jet lag.
- A good nightly routine is key. No alcohol before bed, think positive thoughts and play the alphabet game.
- Naps are awesome. Just keep them under 30 minutes. Drink a cup of coffee before you lay down.
- Sleeping in two chunks is natural. Get up and do something for a little while and then go back to bed.
- Remember the “90 minute rule.”Think about when you need to be up and count back in increments of 90 minutes so you wake up sharp.
Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy. We stay up surfing the net or watching Netflix. How can we behave better?
John Durant offers a piece of advice I follow: forget the morning alarm clock; set an alarm to remind you when to go to bed.