How to fall asleep quickly and have a good night’s sleep? The quality of sleep depends on many factors. The main of them are darkness and laziness.
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What does the science say?
For many years, scientists from different countries study sleep and everything about it. For example, American scientists didn’t turn off the lights in the lab for a whole day. Soon, the mice demonstrated increased anxiety and depression. One of the researchers, the neurologist Tarin Obrecht, writes that hippocampal cells (decreased in size) of the mice from the test group decreased in size.
The Japanese scientists Kenji Obayashi, Keigo Saeki and Norio Kurumatani also discovered a direct link between the amount of light in the bedroom during sleep and depression. The experiment with the participation of 860 people lasted four years. One part of them slept with the artificial sources of light, and the other— in fully darkened rooms. In a few months, 10% of people who slept with the light on, started to develop depression.
Find and remove irritants
So, it is necessary to sleep in complete darkness. However, it is never dark enough on the streets of metropolis — the light of lanterns, advertising constructions and car lamps lights our bedroom not worse than the lights. Look around: signal indication on the devices, chargers, watch with backlight and a flashing screen of the smartphone — all these are also light sources. Besides, if you put them on the nightstand next to the mirror, it will look like there is twice as much light.
What to do?
- Use the sleep masks. They are convenient not only in the airplanes. Putting on a mask before falling asleep is much easier than getting out of bed to draw the curtains (if you forgot to do this).
- Curtain the windows. If ordinary curtains aren’t an improvement, and it is very bright outside the window, consider the option of dim-out or blackout.
- “Calm” the gadgets. On most devices, you can set a recurring “do not disturb” mode (for example, between 22:0 and 06:30). You will still get messages, but without sound, vibration and light indication. If you’re too lazy to deal with this, turn on an airplane mode”.
- Don’t charge your smartphone by the bed. Many set the alarm on their phones. Therefore, they put it on the nightstand (at arm’s length) and charge it there. However, the electromagnetic field of the human head is not particularly useful, as it doesn’t improve the sleep quality.
- If you use a mechanical watch, they shouldn’t tick. If you prefer electronic watch, choose a certain color: a large blue or green screen, glowing in the dark, must be removed from the bedroom. According to scientists, blue and green colors, comparable in brightness, shift the natural circadian rhythms for 3 and 1.5 hours respectively. At the same time, red display hinders our biological clock and production of melatonin (sleep hormone) less than the other colors.
- Besides: The color itself can serve as an irritant. While the в invigorating effect of light gray and blue color is questionable (there are such researches in the network), it would be wise to remove total red and orange from the bedroom (or at least out of sight of the person lying in bed). If the headboard faces the window, and the scarlet curtains will be behind your back, they will not cause an exciting effect on the psyche. There is no harm in a very small amount of these colors (like the red numbers on the clock dial).
Speaking of the sleep-friendly colors for the bedroom, these are warm and unsaturated shades like peachy or sandy.
- Bedtime routine is a ritual, which is just as important as the sleep itself. Here, brightness also plays a huge role. The comparative tables of brightness of different light sources indicate that the brightness of direct sunlight amounts to 32 000-100 000 lux.
- The brightness of the moonlight, at which our ancestors fell asleep peacefully, was 0.27–1 lux, while the brightness of a standard dwelling is 50-500 lux. The difference is huge! If a person spends a lot of time in this light before going to sleep, production of the natural sleep hormone melatonin is automatically suspended.
Conclusion: The darker the bedroom, the better. Dense colors with help you with that.
Relax and don’t shake off sleep
- Turn off the light lying. For this, you should make the main or backup light switch next to the bed during the repair. One interesting option is a switch with a sound sensor (activated by a clap or click): you will not have to get up before going to bed and shake off a pleasant nap.
- Reduce the brightness of the light. For this, the lamp must have a rheostat (built-in dimmer) or a switch with a dimmer. Both devices are necessary in order to smoothly change the power of lighting or its brightness. It makes sense to install the dimmer on a switch at a headboard.
- Pull the curtains with the remote control. Electric drive on the cornice allows you to close the curtains with the remote control (lying in bed). You can even connect it to the system “smart house” and forget about the necessity to draw them at night and open them in the morning.
- Besides: Curtains controlled by a “smart house”, can be set to opening in the morning. In the warm season, when it brightens up too early, it will help you wake up on time even without an alarm clock.
Gadgets to help
Buy an alarm clock with an integrated dimmer. Half an hour before the set signal, the “daylight” (i.e. gradual increase in brightness) will enter the apartment. The body will gently wake itself, without a violent awakening from a sharp sound.
Fitness bracelet will also prove useful, which will calculate the most superficial phase of your sleep and start to wake you up with a soft vibration. There are even alarm clock pillows with the same action.
Remove the excess
- TV. Falling asleep with the TV on is not a good idea: the brain can’t fully relax and “scrolls” what you see for another hour and a half. Quality sleep and series at night are mutually exclusive. Watch TV in bed during the day if you want, but turn it off two hours before bedtime.
- Computer. This device (even when off) reminds the brain of a mental stress. Network filters and voltage regulators can buzz unpleasantly even when off (it is especially annoying in the silence of night). If you want to sleep well, we advise you to move the workplace to the zone, invisible to you from the bed, or preferably, to a separate room. Leave the bedroom for sleep. I don’t want to sound boring, but don’t work in bed before going to sleep.
- Houseplants. If you don’t have a greenhouse branch in your bedroom, the horror stories that the plants “absorb your oxygen at night” are greatly exaggerated. However, some houseplants can have a barely noticeable smell, and the substances released can affect the sleep (invigorate). Read about the properties of the plants standing on your windowsill once again.
And what if I get up at night or work late? What if I have an active rhythm of life and no timetable? What to do with the comfortable sleep?
- If you have a habit of going to the bathroom or snacking at night, think about dimmer with motion sensor and percentage inclusion (at night, it light up only by 10% and doesn’t hurt the eyes). For example, you can buy such options from “Schneider”.
- If you have a child or can’t fall asleep in complete darkness, buy a gradually fading night light. The brain perceives brightness reduction as the natural sunset lighting and orders your body to fall asleep. Any solar-powered night light will fit.
- If you work a lot and should be always in touch, change the incoming call mode in your phone settings. Firstly, sound and vibration should progress in an incremental manner, and the melody must not be shrill and annoying. Natural sounds will be perfect. Consider the brightness of the screen: it can be adjusted in almost every smartphone. You can use the free software F.lux, which automatically changes the color of the spectrum to pinkish as night fells (install on your smartphone and computer).
- If you are used to spend time watching movies or TV series, try to become accustomed to withstand the interval between watching and sleeping. For a start, set an interval of 10–15 minutes: devote this time to the hygienic procedures and relaxing self-care or just lie in silence. Gradually increase the interval. In a perfect world, superheroes turn off the TV two hours before bedtime.
- If you can’t sleep well because of sophisticated graphics (this applies particularly to the flight attendants or truck drivers), buy a sleep mask. We have already mentioned its benefits for everyone, but in your case, it will perform the main role of the darkening necessary for the brain.
Unfortunately, 70% of a daily synthesis of melatonin (sleep hormone and antioxidant responsible for our youth) falls on the dark time, and the peak of performance— on 2:00 a.m. That is, even if you organize a full shading, the body can’t fully recover during the day. Therefore, it is important to sleep not only in the dark, but also at night.
IT’S YOUR TURN…
How do you spend the night: in the dark or in the light? What devices in your bedroom help you to sleep better?