LET’S face it—the one malady a lot of us had in 2018 was a severe lack of rest. Singaporeans were ranked as one of the most sleep-deprived in the world, averaging at just slightly more than seven hours a day in a study done by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Meanwhile, citizens of the Netherlands, Belgium, and New Zealand were averaging at least eight hours of bedtime a day, the right amount of sleep recommended for us (or more accurately, drilled into our brains) since we were young.
How can we help remedy this first-world problem? After all, aren’t we always going on about how much we would like to nap when 3PM rolls around at the office? While we’re all in favour of taking the occasional nap, an energised you is more productive than one that has to sneak away into a sleeping pod midway through the day.
To help you achieve better rest this coming year, we’ve put together a few solutions you can attempt for that oh-so-coveted shut-eye. Hopefully, with these suggestions, you’d be able to score a meeting with the Sandman more often.
Create a routine
You might not know this, but your body clock is one of the most powerful tools you have. Once you have created a set routine, you won’t even have to rely on your alarm clock in the future. Yes, this is much easier said than done, which is why we’re here to help.
Be warned, though, as calibrating your body clock would be a challenge, and more so for those who already have irregular sleep patterns. First, you need to stop sleeping at odd timings. For a week, make it a plan to start preparing for bed around the same time (we’d recommend 10.45PM to 11.30PM). Sip some warm chamomile tea, dim your lights, and get under the covers. The most important step here is to leave your smart devices on your desk, or somewhere you can’t reach from your bed. If you have to write something down at the last minute, have a notebook and pen at your bedside, but your sleeping zone should be distraction-free. Plus, you won’t be as tempted to go back to bed if you have to physically get on your feet just to shut your alarm off.
Then comes the harder part: waking up. Our bodies have a natural circadian rhythm, which is what keeps us energised during the day and drowsy at night. It’s also affected by our environment, which is to say how much light we receive. So if you sleep next to a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that let in a ton of daylight come sunrise, your body would be more attuned to waking up at a certain time.
If not, grab yourself a pair of Philips Hue lights that can be set to gently turn on whenever it’s time for you to wake up. We can attest to their effectiveness, as they’ve been our lighting solution for the past couple of months, and we’re loving them.
Invest in a good mattress and pillow
Gone are the days where our forefathers used ceramic and stone pillows to rest their heads. Today, we have memory foam, down, and god forbid–latex. It might seem like an afterthought, but our pillows and mattresses are where we rest our bodies for at least a third of our lives, and its quality should reflect as such.
There’s no true one-type-fits-all material for pillows or mattresses because you should choose what you’re comfortable with. We’re memory foam converts, but if you knock out the moment your head hits a feather pillow, that’s your prerogative, and we won’t judge.
Likewise, you would want to wake up on the right side of the mattress every day. If you have an ergonomic pillow like ours from Tempur, a tip is that your mattress should either be hard or soft enough so that your spine and neck are aligned when you lay down on your bed.
Most importantly, your comfort and health are what is most important. Take note of how your sleeping equipment is made too, as you might have allergies that are not suited for some. This is where memory foam is superior, as its microbial and don’t have to be cleaned that often.
Track your sleep
Once you have built a routine and gotten your bed sleep-ready, it’s time to actually do the deed. But before you start snoozing into the night, we highly recommend downloading a sleep tracking app for your smartphone or watch.
Yes, we know, we abhor the very notion of sleeping with your phones, but sometimes we just have to compromise. Although if you can, get a smartwatch (your Audemars Piguet and Rolexes can wait), which you should already have if you’re working out constantly.
For starters, a sleep tracking app can, to a degree of accuracy, tell you how much time you’ve spent sleeping, how much of it was deep sleep, and if you actually owe a sleep debt to yourself. Other apps can also gently wake you up when they’ve detected that you’re in a lighter phase of sleep, while a normal alarm might jolt you up during a deep sleep phase which can make you feel even groggier.