And with more and more evidence being presented as sleep being the most important ingredient when it comes to good health and longevity, we continue to investigate sleep and what it means to us. While all the scientific work is going ahead there are a ton of sleep strategies being offered up to the sleep deprived.
Over the course of reading these various articles and essays most of which are very well written, researched and composed, but it struck me that in actual fact some of them just either don’t work or are simply unattainable in our lives
For example the suggestion we remove our digital devices from our bedrooms because of the blue light, well many of us, including myself use their iPhones as alarm clocks and quite nicely thank you. Plus having the comfort of knowing it’s there in case that emergency call comes in, far from keeping us awake actually helps us to sleep more peacefully.
The sleep experts also caution when waking in the night, not to turn on said device and yet one of my friends, instead of tossing, turning and fretting about the fact they are awake, they listen to whatever radio show takes their fancy on their phone, until they feel sleepy and relaxed again. Several friends fall asleep to their favorite TV shows. They need the viewing of a world completely different from their own to switch off their whirring brains and fall into restful slumber.
However, I know this absolutely doesn’t work for me. Watching TV only keeps my brain active and engrossed, but another friend only has to read a page of their latest novel and book-face almost instantly occurs. I on the other hand will read and read until I finish the book actively engaged with the plot.
It has been suggested taking a warm shower also helps to induce drowsiness, yet showers invigorate me and slipping into a cool bed helps to prepare me for sleep.
I also know that as much as I love it, a couple of glasses of wine, whilst it might make me sleepy it affects my actual sleep time terribly, often punctuating my night. A cup of tea however soothes me, a dollop of ice-cream sadly has the same effect as the vino.
Rituals can also help sleep, for me putting on my SoffiaB robe acts as an unconscious trigger in my brain to stop, slow down and prepare for some snoozling of the lengthy variety.
As we get older and our quest for good sleep often becomes more desperate as our responsibilities and worries increase, it can become harder to listen to our bodies and to abide by what may work. The luxury of sleep becomes increasingly evasive, so anxious are we to get in some ZZs in order get through the next day, it is immensely tempting to pop that sleeping aid regardless of the grogginess and heady feeling the next morning.
Like everything, our bodies and brains get used to habits and changing the habits take perseverance and application. One night or even a week of a “new sleep regime” is unlikely to make a huge difference. Waiting for the magic of sleep to happen and to suddenly feel fantastic won’t happen either.
It takes time to develop new sleeping habits and the benefit is incremental.
Ultimately it would seem the answer to good sleep is whatever works for you, within reason. Whether it’s Real Housewives or National Geographic, Classic FM or Howard Stern, getting enough really good sleep is what’s most important. We all know when we’re not tired from activity but from a combination of too much stress and too little shut-eye.
So I welcome all the research because I wholeheartedly agree sleep is our natural recovery aid on every level and vital to our healthy existence.
What sleeping habits work for you?
Look Gorgeous, Feel Fabulous - Sophie