How did you sleep last night? A simple question which usually comes with a complicated answer. Hitting the snooze button is a commonality among most adults today.
Since today is World Sleep Day, we sat down with Prateek Kewalramani, Head of Marketing, Fitbit - MEA to discuss practises to get a better night's sleep and take advantage of today's technology for the same.
What is World Sleep Day?
While the benefits of sleep might surprise us, it is the downside of not getting a good sleep is what needs awakening. Observed since 2008, each year World Sleep Day is a global awareness act that shines light on the importance of sleep and aims to help people identify and fix sleep disorders. Several health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease are often linked to sleep disorders such as insomnia or who don’t get a full night’s sleep. If you are one of those people or know someone who needs additional support to better manage their daily sleep routine, read on, as the good news is, with a few lifestyle changes, you can learn to start consciously managing and improving the way you sleep, ultimately resulting in a healthier and more mindful you.
To begin with and to better perform your daily tasks with more energy, here are some tips on how you could identify and correct your sleeping habits.
What is the primary change to consider when looking to better their sleeping habits?
Getting to bed at a consistent hour every single day may be a difficult task but it’s an important part of a healthy routine. Your body and brain thrive on routine and consistent sleeping patterns are at core of that routine. These days, modern wearable devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers include features such as sleep tracking and provide a daily Sleep Score which could be useful in helping you as such features provide detailed insights and breakdowns of one’s quality of sleep by cross-referencing the sleep and activity data. Advanced wearables can also help you set a more suitable bedtime and a wake-up time target. Features such as silent alarm, sleep mode and smart wake further aim to minimise the disruption of your sleep schedules.
Are there any adjustments people can make to their environment to get a better night's sleep?
To improve the quality and duration of your sleep, changing your environment is a great place to start. While it is usually recommended to sleep in a dark noise-free environment, you could always adapt based on the local factors - such as using eye masks and ear plugs to cut off from the surroundings.
Additionally, if you want to make it easier to fall asleep at night, try disengaging from all screens and electronics at least an hour before bedtime. The stimulation you get from engaging in screens can make it extremely difficult to fall asleep and the light emitted from those screens can be damaging to your sleep cycles.
Personally, I like to practice the ‘no screens before bed’ rule. The evening hours might seem like the perfect time to binge-watch TV, catch up on the day’s news, or scroll through your social media feeds, but I believe that if you truly want to get better sleep, it’s important to disconnect from screens well before bedtime. And to replace screen time, we as a family often engage in reading bedtime stories to our young daughter and build habits as she grows up.
The benefits of exercise are far-reaching as we all know – what is the correlation between exercise and one’s sleeping habits and patterns?
Activity promotes healthy levels of many hormones and other chemicals in the body, which in turn is believed to promote healthy sleep. Here too, advanced wearables come with curated and easily accessible features including daily readiness scores and 24x7 heart rate tracking along with the traditional activity tracking to help you manage your daily exercise routine so that you know when to rest and when to prioritize recovery.
World Health Organization recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity workout for an adult each week – that’s just 22 minutes daily, could further help you have a balanced schedule and improve sleep.
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What are some other practices one can incorporate into their daily routines to help manage their sleep schedules better?
As you might know, mindfulness is a proven stress management tool where you focus on being aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Studies have proven that people who practice mindfulness meditation experience improvement in their sleep quality on par with those seen from using other proven sleep treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy or relaxation training.
Select Premium memberships on wearables provide access to mindfulness tools and sessions that can help you track and understand the effects of your mindfulness practice. In addition to avoiding screen time in evenings, I tend to lean on to this feature with my Fitbit fitness tracker and often turn to the mindfulness sessions from experts such as Calm or Deepak Chopra Mindfulness Method that help me relax within the comfort of my home.
It all starts with sleep - you can enjoy a better day and better life soon.