Do you really have to update your Facebook status moments before heading to bed?
A new study from the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar found that children who indulge in more “screen time” — in front of the TV or computer monitors — before bed enjoy fewer hours of sleep per night, in addition to more daytime sleepiness. The same thing goes for adults, too.
What’s our response then, as humans, when we feel tired and groggy and like we should have just settled under the covers an hour earlier last night? Naturally, we bemoan our tiredness. We complain about it. We tell all of our coworkers and friends and family members what awful an night’s rest we got the night before.
Another study, this one published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, tells us that’s not helping. In fact, complaining about our bad night’s sleep really only makes us more miserable throughout the day.
So, what’s our hope? How can we learn how to sleep better at night when we have so many distractions at our fingertips? When getting better sleep is your priority, it turns out the answers aren’t as simple as finding “the one problem.” Most often, it’s a combination of factors that result in our problems sleeping at night.
There’s still hope. Consider this:
Here’s an interesting fact you probably didn’t know. Traditional flat mattresses don’t do much for our backs in terms of support, because our spines are actually S-shaped. Flat beds create gaps where there should be more support. Adjustable beds, on the other hand, can be customized to fit your exact sleeping specifications — and they even come in queen and king sizes, meaning folks who share beds can get the best sleep for them, and their partner can do the same.
Eating right is always a key part of continued wellness, and the link between diet and sleep is finding more evidence as time progresses. Researchers at Monash University found that both men and women who don’t get enough sleep tend to make poor dieting choices as well — but the pendulum swings both ways. Fresh foods invigorate our bodies, giving us more natural energy to carry out our routines. Processed foods tend to make us feel sluggish and lethargic, yet their synthesized materials don’t help us fall asleep. The answer, like a lot of other things, resides in finding the balance.
Ah, the old diet-and-exercise routine. We know your doctor has chirped about this every time you pop in for a physical, but it’s for a reason. Just like the right foods give our bodies the nutrients and vitamins they need, the right amount of physical activity tires out our bodies naturally, allowing for an easier transition into a state of sleep. Our ancestors used to run and hunt for their daily meals; we sit in comfy office chairs for eight hours at a time. Reconnect with your biological forebears and go out for a run! Your tired eyes will thank you later.
So try a firmer mattress, an adjustable bed, a juicy red apple, and a jog around the block; a better night’s sleep may just be a step away.