Have you been spending your nights watching reruns of Gossip Girl because you just can’t fall asleep? This may be why: when you spend the time before you go to bed watching TV, scrolling through Instagram or catching up on some overdue work on your laptop, it ends up interfering with your sleeping patterns, more than you think.
Your body’s circadian rhythms (biological processes that occur in the body) are connected with the amount of light in your environment. When the photoreceptors in your eyes detect more light, they suppress the production of melatonin—a hormone that makes you fall asleep. This happens so that you stay more alert and productive during the day. Electronic devices that you use late at night emit blue light of a short wavelength. So, apart from increasing the amount of light you’re exposed to, this type of light also tricks your body into thinking that it is not time to sleep yet. This further delays the start of your REM sleep—the deep state of sleep which is said to have a profound impact on your learning, memory and mood. A decrease in the overall amount of time spent in this state, makes you more drowsy and unfocused the next day.
So, be responsible and resist the temptation of binge watching your favourite TV show. Lock your electronics in the spare room if you have to—anything to prevent you from falling into the deep dark hole of the internet. Instead, pick up a book, listen to some music or try some night-time yoga for change!
Because we’re always here to help, these are a few extra tips for you to help maximise your sleep time.
Developing a pattern and having a set bed time will help your body recognise when you’re supposed to go to sleep. You’ll find that the next time you hit the pillow, you will fall asleep!
Surround yourself with relaxing scents
It helps to have a room that smells good. Try some lavender incense or maybe a bit of eucalyptus oil to get your body to calm down before you to go bed. Ensure that the scent isn’t too overbearing as it might interfere with your sleeping patterns again.
Make sure you’re ready for the day ahead
If you’re someone that tends to stress about everything you need to do the next day, get ahead and prep yourself. Lay out your outfit and pack your work bag so that you get can get a sound night’s sleep.