Sleep tips

By Chloe Gabrielle Roesch a current PhD NTU student

Timing

  • A regular wake-up time (or Sleep Anchor) is as important- if not more important- to establishing a healthy, restful and functional sleep-wake pattern. Pick the earliest time in your week you routinely have to wake up and stick with it.
  • Then, only allow yourself to go to bed when you feel you can’t keep your eyes open anymore. Your sleep pattern will slowly begin to “drift” into place.

Temperature

  • A slightly cooler room temperature atmosphere at night creates the ideal conditions to prompt the release of Melatonin (your sleepiness hormone)
  • Neat sleep hack: If you have a timered thermostat, set this to start exactly 2 hours before your wake-up time. A raised body temp. is a biological markerof the end of sleep. Even when the warmth comes externally, this signals to your brain that it will be time to get up soon

Light

  • Invest in curtains and/or a well-fitting eye mask if your room gets light-leak. Any light exposure more than 2 hours prior to you wake-up time will shift your body’s sleep-wake rhythms.
  • Get a 20-30 minutes sunlight exposure directly after (ideally within 10-15 mins) waking up at your sleep anchor time, whether that is from standing outside, going on a walk (or, in a pinch, looking outside a well-lit window or using a sun lamp)
  • “Club lighting” only 2 hours before bed. Keep things dim, avoiding bright bursts and limiting exposure to blue light.

Others

  • “Oversleeping” is a myth. Restorative sleep is an important function that allows the body to heal and recover from a number of stressors. If you have a headache when you wake up or feel groggy, it wasn’t the sleep itself.
  • Avoid eating right before bed as this alters your body’s hormonal state, inturrupting the hormonal processes indicating it is time for bed
  • “Sleep hygiene” is a trending topic but very important, especially during work-from-home. Try not to use your bed/bedroom/bedspace for anything other than sleeping.  If, like many, your bed is in the same place as your work station, set some other habits that mark a sleep time or wake time (e.g. If your bed is your “office” , remove the blankets and fluffy pillows during the workday and replace them when starting to transition to night). Our brains respond to environment so setting indicators in your surroundings of sleep time vs wake time will send the signal that it is time to go to sleep or to wake up.

For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.


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