We all have been in this sticky situation before — you place your head on your plush pillow after a long day at work determined to get an early sleep to gear up for another gruelling session tomorrow. But as you lay to your sides with your arms tightly wrapped around your bolster, you realise transporting yourself to la-la land is not such an easy feat. You toss and turn, trying to find that sweet spot but you end up gazing blankly at the ceiling for most of the night, with a million thoughts rushing through your head, counting sheep being one of them. Frustration starts to creep in and before you know it, your alarm goes off signalling the start of another hectic day. You drag yourself out of bed and into the bathroom, only to find yourself staring at a reflection of your weary face and puffy eyes.
If all this sounds too familiar to you, we offer a consolation — you are not alone. A recent study by SingHealth reported that almost five out of ten Singaporeans fall short of the recommended eight hours of sleep during the weeknights. In fact, most of them did not manage to clock six hours of shut-eye. The gloomy clouds did not fade away for a brighter end of the week either, with thirty per cent of the participants failing to obtain adequate sleep over the weekends.
Failing to clock in enough sleep can bring about adverse effects. Not only does it have a negative impact on your mental health, but it also triggers a series of skin problems such as pimples and dark eye circles. Sleep deprivation leads to stress, which in turn, results in a spike of cortisol in the body. Cortisol triggers the skin to produce more sebum (your body’s natural oil) and before you know it, the pesky red spots start to appear.
When it comes to a good night’s rest, quality and quantity certainly matter. And the best part is you do not need to make drastic changes for that to happen. It merely requires you to implement simple yet fundamental changes to your daily routine and bedtime practices to attain a profound impact on your sleep-wake cycle, acquiring you with the much-needed tune-up for the following day. Read on to discover some of the simple tips you can try out for a better night’s rest.
Set a Routine
Sticking religiously with a standard sleep-wake routine is best when it comes to rest. Setting yourself a fixed bedtime schedule effectively primes your body’s internal clock and improves the quality of your sleep. Depending on your work schedule, conceptualise an ideal sleeping time for yourself, say, for instance, heading to bed promptly by ten at night and set your alarm blazing at six in the morning. In time, as your body normalise to a permanent sleep and wake timing, you will feel so much more energised and refreshed when your alarm blasts off in the mornings.
Avoid Bright Lights
It has become somewhat of a habit for many of us to surf the Internet or catch up on our favourite Netflix series on our gadgets and devices in bed before turning in. While it is only natural for you to feel the urge to capitalise on your strong wi-fi connection or the abundant mobile data from your monthly plans, researchers reveal that this exposure to bright light at night indirectly manipulates your brain into thinking it is still daytime, and thereby, prevents the release of melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone that causes you to feel drowsy and sleepy. So come bedtime, dim your lights and try your best to control and reduce your exposure to bright light, especially from your mobile and smart devices, which emanate blue light that keeps your eyes wide awake.
While you can download apps like Twilight to block and filter the blue light coming from your smart devices, we strongly encourage you to get your eyes off any electronic devices completely an hour before you plunge your head into your pillow to avoid any unnecessary distractions.
Workout During the Day
Numerous studies have proven that individuals who tire their body by exercising regularly during the day obtain much better sleep quality at night. Exercise increases your core temperature and heart rate and stimulates your endocrine and nervous systems, releasing the epinephrine, or adrenaline, hormones which expends and deplete your energy level. Squeezing in thirty minutes to an hour of workout during the day not only lowers the risk of sleep apnoea and insomnia, but it also stretches the amount of time you spend in the deep invigorating stages of sleep.
All You Need Is Sleep
They were certainly not kidding when coining the term ‘beauty sleep’. Beauty and happiness are found when your sleep is sound. Clocking in the recommended eight hours of quality sleep every night will reward you with better skin, positive mood and a healthier, happier you.