When surfing, likes and posting gets in the way, it’s time to make a change to improve your sleep AND better your health
We sympathize with you. We understand what it’s like to fall into the Netflix rabbit hole, which causes you to binge-watch shows like This is Us & Game of Thrones. Oh, and don’t forget Homeland! And we get how Instagram and Pinterest can draw you in for much longer than you anticipated – where did that last hour go? But let’s face facts: your digital habits are affecting your sleep. Actually, they’re killing your sleep.
Our digital habits (and their effect on sleep) have caught the attention of researchers who are discovering that sleep procrastination is a real thing. Studies conducted at Utrecht University in the Netherlands show this delay may be more harmful and more widespread than previously believed.
If we look at a dictionary, procrastination is defined as the voluntary delay of an intended course of action, despite expecting to be worse off for the delay. It causes us to do things like putting off doing laundry until we have one pair of clean jeans (the tight ones) left in our closet because we decided to play Words With Friends online. While we can navigate our way most times around the things we’ve left undone, sleep should not one of them. A mountain of research points out the myriad of health problems – physical and psychological – that comes with being a culture that is notoriously sleep-deprived. All that data is a not-so-subtle reminder that sleep needs to be at the top of our to-do list. But don’t fret. These tips will help you recover from chronic sleep procrastination.
5 tips to help you get the rest you need – without any sleep procrastinating
- Make bedtime spa time. Sleep spas are a hot trend among spa-goers desperate to get rest and to learn how to tame their bad, sleep-wrecking habits. These facilities are a good way to reset your bedtime rituals and they force us to slow down and treat sleep as an important pillar of health. Read more: Sleep Spa
- Stick to a sleep routine. Haphazard bedtimes are the enemy of good quality sleep. Do your best to set a time to hit the sheets that works for you night after night. And make a habit of easing into it by making sure your bedroom is an oasis of calm. That means to ban the TV and handheld electronics, keeping the room dark and cool. Read more: Bedtime Alarm Clock
- Stretch your way to sleep. Yoga Asanas can help you relax your mind and body as you prepare for bed. A few simple yoga poses help you make the transition from the busy hours of your day to a peaceful state. Read more: Yoga for Better Sleep
- Nap to reap benefits for your brain. A short catnap is ideal for boosting your productivity and your feeling of wellness, but the trick is not to sleep for more than 30 minutes. Keep it short and you’ll get a great boost from napping. Timing is key, too. Mid to late afternoon is the sweet spot. Read more: Secrets of Highly Effective Nappers
- Get a gentle reminder. When you were a kid, it was likely one of your parents that told you it was time to go get your pajamas on and get ready for bed. As a grown-up, we can get that kind of gentle prompting from an app, aptly named Go To Bed (free on iTunes). It also tracks your sleep, too. Read more: Best Sleep Apps
If lack of sleep has become your new frienemy (someone you think is a friend but hurts more than she helps), it’s time to seek professional help. Find a Sleep Doctor near you.