I struggle to get a good night’s sleep. My mattress sucks, I wake up in the night, I get to bed late, the usual stuff. And if you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking “well, it’s obvious what you need to do” but damn if I have the money or motivation to fix them! For Vox, Sean Illing interviewed Henry Nicholls, a science journalist and author of Sleepyhead: The Neuroscience of a Good Night’s Rest, and asked him for his opinions on optimal shuteye. This part was particularly interesting:
Is bad sleep better than no sleep? In other words, is it better to just get up and do something productive rather than lying in bed for hours frustrated about not being able to fall asleep?
If you’re not sleeping and getting anxious about not sleeping, just get out of bed and leave the bedroom. Sleep specialists have established that staying in bed while you’re anxious or not sleeping is one of the most common contributors to chronic insomnia, because it trains the brain and creates bad associations. So you have to break that.
The bedroom should be for sleeping. If you’re lying in bed for more than 15 minutes and not sleeping, just get out. And don’t take your mobile device into your bedroom because you’re going to use it and the light from it has a delaying effect upon the secretion of melatonin from the brain, which will delay the onset of sleep.
I have anxiety. THIS WORKS FOR ME!