For the last few years the quality of my sleep has seemed to decline. This is a concern as sleep is critically important when it comes to personal flourishing. I have made some changes in my routine and will be documenting them here.
The National Sleep Foundation defines sleep hygiene as:
“Sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness.”
So how much sleep should you be getting each evening, on average? Most adults should be getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep per night. If you’re getting less than this, you’re likely to be compromising your performance in some way.
The following graphic from the National Sleep Foundation is helpful for determining how much sleep is required for individuals of different ages.
Recently, I made the following changes to improve my sleep hygiene:
- I configured my Apple iPad and iPhone to go into night shift mode at 7:00PM and to return to normal mode at 6:00AM.
- I dim my Philips Hue lamps in my living room and bed room to a reddish hue in the evenings, a few hours prior to going to bed. I recently ordered a few more of these bulbs so as to be able to color-control the lighting in my kitchen as well.
- I have covered all other artificial sources of blue or white light in my condominium.
- I stop drinking caffeinated beverages or eating foods with caffeine in them at 3:00PM.
- I set an earlier bed time for myself. Currently, it’s 8:30PM. Since I get up fairly early in the morning, this is not a problem for me.
These changes are only a beginning. But last night – the second night after implementing these changes – I slept for 8 hours, 17 minutes. According to my sleep tracking device (a Fitbit Charge HR) there were fewer periods of restlessness, too.
A night’s sleep should consist of a number of uninterrupted sleep cycles. A sleep cycle has various stages and it’s best to wake up at the end of a cycle, rather than to interrupt a cycle. When a sleep cycle is interrupted, you may feel foggy and out of touch for several hours. There are many web sites that offer sleep calculators that will help you determine how your sleep cycles will map on to your planned (or hoped-for) sleep periods.