How do I get a good night’s sleep?
Most of us have asked ourselves this question at one point or another. At Rise & Fall, we ask ourselves this question every day, but phrased slightly differently: “What can we do to create the best night’s sleep for ourselves and others?”
As it’s World Sleep Day this Friday, we decided this week would be a good time to share some of the answers we have come up with. First out is some insight from Dr Helena Schiller, PhD in Public Health and co-author of the internet-based CBT-program for better sleep. We asked Dr Schiller how to best promote good sleep. Here is what she replied:
Imagine if we had a switch where we could press ‘on’ when going to bed and ‘off’ when getting up. Even though there is no such easy way out when it comes to sleep, there are several things you can do to strengthen the effects of your bodily sleep systems, methods, and strategies that are well-founded in research. But first you need to know how sleep is regulated.
Sleep is regulated by the circadian rhythm and the sleep drive
We are predisposed to be active during the day and recover during night and the circadian rhythm, or our body clock, helps us maintain a 24-hour cycle of sleep and wakefulness. The circadian rhythm is characterised by daily variations of the hormone melatonin, which makes us feel tired and sleepy at night, and cortisol, which makes the body alert during the day. Daylight has a suppressing impact on the production of melatonin.
Sleep drive, which is the body’s need for sleep, depends on prior sleep – both duration and quality, and time awake since you last slept. The longer you stay awake, the greater sleep drive becomes and then, when you sleep, your sleep drive will naturally start to drop. Therefore, we need to be awake and active long enough to build up a sleep drive that ensures a good night's sleep.
Dr Schiller is working on a list of top tips for better sleep that we will share with you on World Sleep Day, don’t forget to check back then.
Dr Helena Schiller holds a PhD in Public Health and is co-author of the internet-based CBT-program for better sleep at www.braive.com