For people who are continuing to find trouble in getting a good night’s rest, sleep consultant Tracy Braunstein says there are practical ways to work towards improving sleeping habits.
We’ve all been told to avoid bringing electronics like phones to bed and one of the reasons for this is the light, she says.
“It takes as little as seven minutes of that blue light exposure in our face to trick the brain into staying awake, so you really want to avoid that electronic light in your face at bedtime.”
Braunstein adds that phones are time-consuming and endless scrolling can be disruptive, but if people are going to use their devices, they should have the backlight off to avoid the glow shining on their face.
According to the sleep expert, other activities people can engage in to wind themselves down before bed include yoga, a hot bath, guided meditations and journaling.
“Anything that kind of gets your brain going too much you want to steer away from that,” she says.
Additionally, for late-night snacks, Braunstein suggests leaning towards foods that have higher amounts of tryptophan or melatonin, like cheese, nuts and bananas, rather than heavier foods like potato chips.
For those who are frequently tempted to hit the snooze button on their alarms, Braunstein advises people to take a step back, look at their overall sleep hygiene and establish a bedtime hour.
“You want to make sure that you’re going to bed at an hour that allows you to get that sleep and get up in time for work,” she says.
When it comes to the average number of hours of sleep people should be getting and the flexibility of those hours, Braunstein says the ideal range is between seven and nine hours.
To determine the number of hours of sleep people need, she suggests asking themselves if they have an easy time falling asleep, if they are getting up in the middle of the night and if they are waking up in the morning feeling well-rested.
“It will vary, there’s no pressure for it to be eight if you feel great on seven… Everybody’s a little bit, a little bit different.”
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