Everyone in my family is deprived of sleep. My wife, who usually writes this column, is so overwhelmed this month that he asked me to fill out for her. It is tempting to blame our lack of sleep disturbance on the night of our nine months and our baby. But it’s my fault, too: like 30 percent of my fellow citizens, my sleeping habits are pretty miserable. Instead of treating my sleep as a valuable resource, I stay close to sleeping as folding clothes: as a normal obligation, I will get to the end.
Decades ago, this attitude may be defensible, but today scientists have linked sleep disorders to accelerated aging, increased risk of obesity, and immune and cardiovascular dysfunction. The good news is that becoming a better sleep can be easier than it sounds.
Lighting to bedtime take serious (but not too serious).
Recent studies have shown that reading on an electronic screen right before bedtime can inhibit the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps to fall asleep. While it is true that these devices can mimic the effect of sunlight on the eyes and affect the timing of the body’s internal clock, circadian neuroscientist Russell Foster of Oxford University says that in the end, tthe number ofquestions surfaced more than quality. “Intense light has a brain-based alert effect, and the amount of light these portable electronic devices give off is quite low,” says Foster. “Ironically, the last thing most of us do before going to bed is to stay in a massively lit bath while brushing our teeth.” So, rather than stressing when reading on the bed on a screen or paper, put the bathroom light switch on a dimmer or simply brush your teeth for the first time. However this is done, the goal is to minimize exposure to light for 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime.
Take a morning “shower of photons.”
According to Foster, the same cells in the eye that are based on weak light to facilitate you in sleep also need a burst of light in the morning to re-synchronize the circadian rhythm. “The body of the watch is a little over 24 hours, so without this stabilizing effect by the morning light, the clock begins to drift,” says Foster. In other words, you will start going to bed later and wake up later and at the same time every morning, gradually building up a sleep deficit. The best remedy is, of course, the natural light of day. But if your work, your children or your strength of geography you get up before dawn, grit your teeth and flip the ceiling lights at maximum volume until it can get a little ‘sun. Most interior lighting has at least the same ambient brightness as an early morning sky between 400 and 1,000 lux (unit of scientific lighting measurement). Foster recommends “shower” with 1,000 to 2,000 lux in the morning to ensure supervision and set your biological clock to hang properly in the late afternoon. If you really want to get scientific, you can download applications for smartphone light meter that will tell you exactly how bright any spot in your home is.
Hack your dreams.
The dream function is still unknown, but a 2011 study by Robert Stickgold, director of the Harvard Medical School’s Center for Sleep and Cognition, showed that people who had been told to solve a maze were able to make it more efficient if they experienced task-related dreams before doing it. And lucid dreaming in which the dreamer becomes able to control his own experience without waking up, can amplify the effects of the dream-reducing anxiety and perception of production. “There are studies that show that people who have a lucid dream for a month or more are more resilient in the face of stressful events,” says Tore Nielsen, a sleep researcher at the University of Montreal. First, you can experience spontaneous lucid dreams, Nielsen says, making a habit of asking yourself: “I’m dreaming” Throughout the day. Eventually he probably asks the question during a dream, realize that you are dreaming and take control. “It has been shown that you can fly, you can explore creative ideas, also treat nightmares” with lucid dreams, he says.
Just do it.
While researching this article, I met a seemingly inexhaustible source of sleep-hacking tricks, taking a noon “caffeine nap” -Drink a cup of coffee, and then sleep for 20 minutes-to keep one foot out of the blankets oovernight.But at the end of the day, Stickgold says, it’s very simple: either you choose to get the sleep you need, or you choose not to. “I tell people to do an experiment: go to bed an hour earlier than usual every night for a week,” Stickgold says. “And if it is at the end of the week that you are ‘behind’ really seven hours at all, then stop doing it! But if you suggest to me that you are not the most efficient with a little more than seven hours you’re completely delirious. “He accepted the challenge, Dr. Stickgold.