How long has it been since you’ve had a good night’s sleep?
Before the pandemic, many of us weren’t taking care of ourselves or spending money where it’s worth. We reduced the idea of self-love to simply regimes that we can purchase, like a gym membership. But, these purchases became irrelevant the moment we lost our personal liberty to move freely. We need to make changes from within to appreciate this life that coronavirus has yet to snatch away.
BACK TO BASICS
First order of business: go to sleep. Time is the new currency, and everything today is about efficiency. We’re told to do more and do it faster, before someone else replaces us. So, we started seeing basic human needs, like sleep, as an enemy – an inconvenience in our race to productivity.
Well, everyone is replaceable. We don’t even know if, say, thirty years down the line, the food you eat will be prepared by a ‘someone’ or ‘something’. Milking your bedtime for a few hours only to spend half of them fighting the force of gravity on your eyelids isn’t going to help. In fact, it compromises your performance even more. On average, you could lose more than two weeks of productivity per year due to poor sleep.
Since time is of the essence, you want to make the most out of the precious portion you allocate to sleeping. The saying “quality trumps quantity” has never met a truer instance. From relatively cost-free methods to sizable (but worthy) investments, take a look at these suggestions that will improve your sleep quality.
BLUE LIGHT MAKES YOU BLUE 📱
Binging Netflix on my phone in bed with my lights off tops my list of guilty pleasures. It’s obviously bad for the eyes, but that’s not all. Electronic devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones emit blue light, which our brain interprets as daylight. It suppresses melatonin, a hormone that should increase when you’re getting ready for bed, thereby disrupting your sleep cycle.
So, keep devices out of your sleeping quarters. If you absolutely need one around to wake you up in the morning, put them as far away from your bed as possible. This way, it’ll be harder for you to hit the snooze button too. Win-win.
TICKLE YOUR SENSES 👃
If you’ve been to TeamLab’s Story of the Forest exhibition at the National Museum, you’d know how impactful scents can be in transforming a space.
Aromatherapy is a real thing – aroma molecules we inhale go through the olfactory bulb in our forebrain, which then sends signals to the amygdala, the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and the hippocampus to incite emotional responses.
Different scents have different effects on our brain and mood. Lavender relaxes muscles and slows heart rates; chamomile mitigates anxiety and depression; sandalwood relieves stress and wakefulness. These, along with many others, are recommended to help induce sleep.
Pick one to your liking and pour a few drops in a diffuser. They are affordable and make a nice decorative piece. Be sure to use a diffuser that is meant to handle oils, and to buy real essential oils instead of scented ones.
MATTRESS MATTERS 🛏️
Mattresses come in a plethora of materials, sizes and prices. You have to choose one that fits your personal preference and needs. It’s incredibly important to do so: a bad mattress that doesn’t balance the downward gravity and upwards resistance for your body is going to create pressure points. These eventually evolve into back, hip and neck pain. If you sleep on an old mattress, you’re sleeping on a dust mite paradise that can irritate your skin and nose. If it’s creaking, chances are the coils no longer support your weight. Lack of support distorts your spine’s natural alignment and disturbs your sleep, leading eventually to chronic back pain and fatigue. You wake up a wheezing zombie.
You want to look for a mattress that cradles you in all sorts of sleeping positions. It’ll support your body properly and promote healthy sleep postures. It might be costly at first, but the health benefits that follow will make it one of the best investments you ever make. With your improved focus that comes from a good night’s sleep, you’ll earn the money back (if not more) in no time. Take a look at this guide to help you make a decision.
THE COLOUR OF SLEEP 🎨
Room colours play a substantial part in sleep quality. Discuss with a professional interior designer to choose the best colour scheme for your bedroom. In general, passive and neutral hues are the go-to. Passive tones like soft purple fosters a sense of restfulness, while neutrals like beige and muted grey bring about a calming ambience.
However, the defending champion for bedroom colour is blue. It is said to be able to bring down blood pressure and slow respiration and heart rate. Pair lighter shades, which are relaxing and serene, with warmer lighting that not only encourages sleep, but also balances the coldness of the palette. Avoid dark blue, which evokes sadness, and pastel if you don’t want your bedroom to look like a nursery.
The pandemic has reminded us of the fragile and fleeting nature of our lives. We’re buzzing with restlessness, eager to pursue our dreams while we still can. Yet, don’t just burn through our time on earth chasing after possibilities. Take a good look at the present, because there’s nothing like the here and now. You will wake up every day and work harder towards your goals. But before that, go to sleep.