This is a blogpost by Life Butter. To read more about Life Butter and their podcast rad to the bottom of the pot.
Hello and welcome back to Life Butter’s guest column on Hazel Wallace’s blog!
Month by month, we are giving you ONE simple, easy and (hopefully!) fun tip you can try to improve your sleep which, in case you didn’t know, is one of the most effective things you can do to enhance how you feel and look. Not to mention perform in your job, or on a test.
Exam season is coming up, and while it may be tempting to study 24/7, studies have shown that getting adequate sleep is essential to performing well in exams. So it really is important to get those zzzs, even if it seems like the rest of the world is living in the library.
And it’s not just students. We are all really busy, whether with work, family, community or social obligations (or a mix of all of the above!), and sometimes it feels like working into the night is the only option. Modern life makes it all too easy to stay up late – electric light, whether from your desk lamp, tv or phone, has us out of synch with the natural rhythms of the day, and allows us to “do” any time of day or night.
Research has shown that light is actually one of the most powerful cues in shifting our circadian rhythm and suppresses melatonin production.
And the blue tone of the light emitted from devices like phones, tablets and laptops is particularly powerful; we know that exposure to blue light makes it harder for us to fall asleep and sleep deeply. But given the importance of these devices in our hectic, fast-paced lives, evening exposure to blue light seems unavoidable. So here’s something you can try to at least mitigate its effects on your circadian rhythms.
Tip 3: Let the Sun Go Down (on your phone)
Everyone from Arianna Huffington to Gwyneth Paltrow has written about the importance of a “digital sunset”, and this is the tip we invite you to try this month. It goes a little something like this: first, activate the “Night Shift” feature on your iPhone or other Apple device; this will warm up the tones of light it emits from evening until morning (android phones have similar apps you can use to achieve the same effect). That’s the easy bit; the harder part is switching off. An hour before you want to go to bed, switch off your phone, your tv, your EVERYTHING electronic, and do something completely Luddite to get you out of blue-light land (and the temptation of clicking just one more link). I
nstead, take a bath, read a book, give yourself a foot massage (a Goop recommendation) or anything that relaxes you and takes your mind off of your day-to-day and all its pressures. If an hour isn’t achievable (and it often isn’t for us), try just 30 minutes. And here’s a pro tip we learned in Episode 1 of Season 1 of Life Butter Radio: our bathrooms are often then last room we visit before bed (to brush our teeth), but they are also usually the brightest.
So either clean your teeth right after dinner (and thereby also kill any urges to snack!), or use the dimmer on your bathroom light when making your last stop before bedfordshire. And if you need to invest in a little incentive to help you really give this a try, we recommend a lovely candle for a little pre-bed mood lighting, or a novel (NOT on an e-reader: one with pages and everything!).
We are just back from Cornwall, and have a copy of the first Poldark novel keeping us company before lights out. The jacket has Aidan Turner’s face on the cover, which makes for a nice bonus before dreamland!
Let us know how you get on, and be sure to check out Life Butter Radio, in iTunes and everywhere you find podcasts, for more on sleep and other health topics.