In this podcast episode:
Hello, this is Richard Jacobs with the good night's sleep project podcast. Today I want to talk about time very important when it comes to sleep. So, first of all, you need to allocate enough time to sleep everyone claims that they only sleep three hours a night or they only sleep four hours a night and they're fine and there is a very small percentage of people that naturally are short sleepers. They have a fundamental physiological biological difference, a genetic difference where they're able to sleep much shorter periods of time and still be fine but it's a very small percentage. So chances are you are not one of those people, you do need between seven and nine hours of sleep. Some people need nine, some people need seven, some people need eight, etc.
But it's crucial you may think six hours a night is good enough but over weeks, months and years that really can hurt you and there are many scientific studies that show it contributes to Alzheimer's and other Dementias, obesity, high blood pressure, high sugar, cancer, heart problems. I mean it's unbelievable how lack of sleep can hurt you and this is not an exaggeration. There are literally dozens of studies on this and it sounded to me when I first heard it I said how did that be?
Just not sleeping quite enough each night or having disturbed sleep but it's true, so in terms of time which is the theme of this podcast, you have to allocate the time you need and you're not going to fall asleep necessarily the second you hit the bed so if you need to sleep seven hours, allocate at least seven and a half hours at a time that you're in the bed.
Give yourself time to fall asleep you don't want to feel rushed. Like, Oh man I got to go to sleep right now or I'm only going to get seven hours if I do cause that, chances are you lay awake and you'll be down to six and a half or six hours to give yourself time.
I know psychologically I need to sleep for about eight hours. So I know psychologically if I allocate nine hours in bed and I set my alarm and it says your alarm will go off nine hours from now, I actually feel relaxed and I sleep better. I still usually sleep about the same amount of time, but I sleep better knowing I have extra time if I need it in case I get disturbed. So that's one crucial aspect of time.
Another aspect is the time before you go to sleep so you can't expect that you're on the computer or the laptop or watching TV. You go upstairs, turn out the lights and you're asleep in two seconds. It's not going to happen. Your body needs time to produce the necessary hormones to make you tired. If you're going to fall asleep for it to produce Melatonin for it just stopped producing.
Other hormones are ramped up and down. In the old days, people would tend to sit by fire before there was electricity. Well, guess what color the fire is red and yellow. These are colors that signal your brain and your eyes to prepare you for sleep, to produce Melatonin, to make you tired. Guess what color the sunset is red and orange. Isn't that funny how nature naturally prepares you to sleep staring at a smartphone, it’s blue and white light coming out, that same thing with a TV, same thing with a laptop.
So if you want to sleep well at least half an hour before bed well probably an hour. Do not look at screens, read a book. If you have to look at screens, there are apps like F.box where comfort mode and on a lot of phones and laptops help change the light from a blue to a reddish hue.
It may be a little bit hard to see at first when you get used to it really quickly and then if you change back, you go, Oh God. So we're kind of moving away from time but the time aspect of it is you gotta not only allocate enough time to sleep but allocate prep time. I would suggest a half hour before you go to sleep, start your ritual, whatever it is brushing your teeth, reading a book, drinking some non-caffeinated tea, whatever it is, but have some kind of bedtime ritual.
We do this for children and it helps do this for yourself. It will help you prepare to sleep, it'll help you sleep and then again, allocate enough time.
One more aspect of time that's critical I've tested this when you wake up at night or if you wake up every second counts literally so give me an example I've had stuffy nose many times it causes me to wake up and either blow my nose or to get a drink of water cause I'm thirsty cause I'm breathing through my mouth so what I used to do is I would get up and go get a glass of water. I'm awake for two, three minutes, I can't go back to sleep. Then I started having a glass of water in my bedroom and my bed. So I would wake up, rollover drink the water and go back to sleep and that would bring it way down to maybe like five, six, seven seconds and that helped me go to sleep much faster.
There were a couple of nights or actually a bunch of nights where my nose was totally stuffed up and the room was like really dry. I didn't have a humidifier, it was terrible. So I actually resorted a couple of nights to have a water bottle in the bed. It took me a little while, but I got you and what this did is it allowed me to wake up and opened my eyes or anything just to grab the bottle, open it, take a slight sip, cap it and put it right back and go back to sleep.
This only saved me maybe two, three seconds. So instead of being awake for seven seconds, I was awake for maybe like two seconds. But it helped my sleep big time. So I realized literally every second count during the night and during your sleep and before your sleep. So this aspect of time I don't think people are really aware of and how it correlates with sleep. That's why I wanted to bring it up to you. So if you want to learn more about how to sleep well, visit https://www.goodnightssleepproject.com/
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Thank you for listening.