Remember when we were supposed to get eight hours of sleep each night? And then wake up to that food pyramid? And then drink a gallon of water, do 15 minutes of light exercise, spend time with family, and go to work?
Those were the days.
But one thing we can improve is our ability to fall asleep faster when we go to bed. The screen scrolling we’ve become accustomed to before closing our eyes is addictive. Yet no matter how many memes, videos of cats dancing, and TikTok filters we see, our lives get no richer. In fact, all they really do is cause us to lose precious moments of rest.
Luckily, there are some easy ways to make quick progress.
Check your settings for brightness and a blue-light blocker. If you absolutely can’t put your phone or tablet down, you can change your brightness setting to include a blue-light blocker. And if your computer or phone screen doesn’t have that setting, there are beautiful (and ugly) blue-light blocking glasses you can keep on your bedside table. There are even blue-light blocking reading glasses.
The reason that is important is because most of our blue light comes from the sun, and theories suggest that prolonged exposure to blue light after the sun goes down tricks your brain into thinking it is still daytime—thus, time to be wide awake.
Of course, turning off your phone is sure to signal your body that it’s time to sleep. And there’s no darker screen than one sitting on the shelf recharging.
If you’re a podcast fan, why not show your love and grab a book by your favorite podcasters? Sure, you have to have a reading light on to enjoy it, but reading can surely lead to sleep.
Richard Nicholls of the Motivate Yourself podcast has a self-help book that offers effective solutions to some of your most nagging problems. It’s called 15 Minutes to Happiness, and it could very well end up making you smarter while getting to sleep sooner.
Since scrolling social media is really just feeding your brain with one inane picture after another, how about grabbing The Book of The Year by the podcasters at No Such Thing As A Fish, and learn hundreds of weird, wacky things?
Combine your love for your phone with listening to podcasts specifically designed to help you get better sleep. This is great if your phone is your “security blanket” you can’t live without. Just turn it on, press “play,” and put it on your bedside table.
The Get Sleepy Podcast is a storytelling podcast run by creative writers, voice artists, and meditation experts. They tell stories to help you drift off to sleep.
The Sleep with Me Podcast combines humor and deep plots to lull you to sleep. It utilizes a pleasant voice and relaxing sounds to help ease you into la la land.
BBC Radio 3’s Slow Radio calls itself a “lo-fi celebration of pure sound.” Each episode lasts 15 to 30 minutes and provides listeners with soothing music and calming soundscapes to really relax you and help you begin the journey to sleepdom.
White Noise Machine
There are actual machines, like the Magicteam Sound Machine, that you plug in and put on your nightstand. They play natural sounds like birds chirping or rippling creeks. But we all know those can be played on your phone, as well.
(Don’t tell the Magicteam Sound Machine folks that all one really needs is an app. Wouldn’t want to wake them!)
But did you know you could ask Alexa or Google Home to do the same thing? You may have to enable a task, but there are plenty of natural sound effects to choose from.
Now that we’re getting beyond the scary COVID-19 period, you can invest some money into a different kind of mask—the sleep kind.
Hotels and planes will sometimes give you a simple, soft sleep mask to block out some of the light in your room and help you get good sleep. But you can also get gel masks that cool your eyes, masks that come with embedded headphones, and masks that provide some lumbar support for your neck. There are even masks with noise suppression technology.
I suppose if you wait just a little bit longer, there may eventually be one that comes with a nice mint on the pillow.
How about we kill two birds with one stone?
We’re supposed to get 20 minutes of exercise each day, right? Obviously, we’re not going to be doing 20 minutes of sit-ups in bed at 10:25 p.m.
But if you choose to do 20 minutes of truly vigorous exercise every day, you’ll go to bed tired for sure. And like scrolling through your phone, exercise can be addictive in a good way. 20 minutes will soon be easy, and you’ll start expanding to 25 or 30 minutes to an hour.
And then, not only will you be getting good sleep, but you’ll be losing weight and getting healthy at the same time!
It does a body.
It does a body good.
May 2022 Issue