1. Here are the next two keys for sleeping soundly.
2. Key 3: Your sleep cave should be dark. As you've learned, melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy, is released when it's dark. So make sure your bedroom (or sleep cave) is as dark as possible. This means using blackout curtains when possible, covering up the light from your alarm clock, and getting rid of screens in your bedroom.
3. Key 4: Be Cool. Increased melatonin levels cause a natural cooling of your body temperature by 0.3-0.4 degrees Celsius, which helps you fall asleep. So keep your room at 19 degrees C (or cooler) to promote drowsiness.
Sleeping better makes life better. It is really is that simple! You can be calmer, happier, more creative and smarter just by getting at least 7.5 hours of quality sleep every night. So remember sleep keys #1 and #2 – saving caffeine for the morning and defending your last hour before sleep – as we keep talking about better sleep. Here is the final setting of the stage.
Key #3: Your sleep cave should be dark
I want you to have a place in your home or hotel room that is fantastic for rest and recovery. Think of it as a peaceful zone where you go to crash out after rocking the world all day. This will be your sleep cave – formerly known as your bedroom or hotel room. Whether at home or travelling, you can create the perfect zone for sleep.
You know that melatonin is very sensitive to light. The pineal gland which produces melatonin responds to light via neurons that project from your eyes, so it’s important to eliminate all light in your bedroom. You want more melatonin in your system before bed, not less.
That means your sleep cave needs to be dark. Really dark. Even the light from your alarm clock is enough to reduce your melatonin levels. Little things like covering up your alarm clock light or getting dark curtains for your windows will help. Some hotel rooms are great for this – though you may have to unplug or turn around any appliances that give off light. Night lights are also not great, and any middle of the night excursions to the bathroom as best handled under cloak of darkness!
Remember, this also means getting rid of your screens if you have them in the bedroom. Television, tablets and mobile phones all compromise your ability to fall asleep. I realize this can be a huge change for you, but having a light that flashes at you at 240 frames per second is a surefire way to keep you from falling asleep.
Light Therapy Tip: Install f.lux on your computer to cut blue light emissions later in the day. If you have iOS then activate the night shift feature, and if you use Android then try the Twilight app!
Key #4: Be cool
In the evening, increased melatonin levels cause the blood vessels in the skin to dilate, cooling the body by 0.3–0.4 degrees Celsius. This cooling promotes drowsiness and helps us fall asleep.
So in addition to keeping your sleep cave really dark, you also want it to be cool to promote and maintain sleep.
If you are having a hard time falling asleep, have a warm bath followed by a cool shower to decrease your body temperature slightly. Then make sure your room is at the most 19 degrees C (you could go cooler if that suits you). This procedure mimics the effect of melatonin and will knock you out every time.
If you find yourself waking up because you’re too cold or too hot, just adjust your room temperature and your blankets until you find the right combination to keep you cool and comfortable all night!
As an added bonus: research has even suggested that sleeping in a cool room might help you prevent diabetes, have healthier sugar metabolism and stay leaner.
So those are keys #3 and #4 for better sleep: go dark and stay cool!
The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist Sky Regional employees with improving their general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. Sky Regional is not responsible for the content of this program which has been specially developed and is being provided to you by the Wells Group Inc., in consultation with Sky Regional. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release Sky Regional and the Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.