We're all in the pursuit of a good night's sleep.
Click start to play today's Spell It, where we learn a series of ‘tactics’ for successful rest.
Whether you're a single person who both works and plays hard, or a tired mum who's just looking to get her mojo back, a restful night can do wonders for your physical and mental well-being. But just how does this elusive goal materialise?
It doesn't all come down to abstaining from screen time before you sleep, or maintaining total darkness. Esther Sternberg, author of Well at Work: Creating Wellbeing in Any Workspace, writes in a September 2023 report in US-based psychology news website Psychology Today, that it’s not only what you do at night that affects your sleep, but also what you do during the day.
Here are some things to focus on in the day, for better rest at night:
According to Sternberg, a study of federal office workers in the US found that people who were consistently exposed to bright sunlight streaming in through their office windows between 8am and 12pm, fell asleep faster later that night. They also reported better sleep quality and were in a better mood the next day.
Conversely, experiencing blue light in the evenings - just 35 to 40 minutes of it - was found to impair sleep. Blue light commonly comes off smartphones and computer screens, and it can have the same energising effect as a cup of coffee.
The same study found, through chest-worn heart monitors, that people who were more active during the day - office workers in open office design spaces - slept better at night than those who were less active (office workers in cubicles).
3. Temperature and humidity
Our body clocks aren't just attuned to the sun's light, but to the rhythms of its heat as well. Our core body temperature cools as afternoon fades into evening, so a warm bath before bed, a soft, breathable blanket, or even a pair of warm socks can all help us fall asleep faster, and rest more deeply.
Research has found that if you're exposed to loud sounds in the day, it can impair your sleep at night. The reason is that loud noise raises our stress levels, which later has an impact on sleep quality.