“So how many hours of sleep do you actually get in a day? Do you toss and turn during your sleep or do you really sleep like a log of wood? How fresh and alive do you feel once you wake up the next morning?” These are just some of the questions I was inundated with by a “Sleep Consultant” on my flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco this August. This got me really thinking and I started pondering about the same on a more serious level. To my surprise, I was literally getting only about 3-5 hours of “Real Sleep” in a day without even actually realizing it.
Being a tech-entrepreneur (Rugs and Beyond), I was constantly glued to checking analytics of my E-commerce venture, conducting quantitative analysis in the middle of the night and being in constant touch with innumerous WhatsApp workgroups. All this was happening juxtaposed with working all day with a real struggle to workout in the morning, combined with frequent travels across the world. My body was deprived of rest and sleep to the extent that I would begin to feel exhausted and debilitated most of the times.
Thinking about it, all this was a result of over-the-top screen time and inability to disconnect from my device. It was interesting, rather alarming to know that each time our phones ring with a call or we receive any sort of notification or alert, our brains get a hit of dopamine- the novelty is addictive. In this world of instant gratification and the urge for wanting things “now”, this is a real problem worldwide and is infectious. So, what did I decide to do? I decided to ditch “that someone” aka cell phone and chose my sleep every single day.
Now whether one is struggling with insomnia or feeling fatigued all the time, the problem is real. Deprivation of sleep reduces optimal productivity, deteriorates health and causes all sorts of health problems. One must understand that sleep is a daily aspect of life, just like drinking water, eating food etc. It not only enables physical rejuvenation but also bolsters creativity and mental ability to perform great at one’s workplace.
Here are some of my personal tips for all those who don’t really think about the serious repercussions of being sleep deprived:
a) Choose the Best Mattress
Honestly, I think having a peace of mind and a clear conscience is more important than having a great mattress. But technically speaking, sleeping on a bad mattress has its own perils. I am still in the process of conducting a research on my quest to find the perfect mattress, but according to “Casper” – a company that tirelessly engineers sleep, a memory foam with a spring box is ideal for a good nights sleep. I still recall waking up with a severe body ache until I realized how my mattress had become obsolete and would cause a lower backache the next morning. Hence, I personally feel that a good, comfortable mattress, one that is conducive to the body, plays a great role in supporting sleep.
b) Exercise on a Regular Basis
It’s not that we haven’t heard about this before that exercising has its own great deal of real benefits. While there is no definitive answer to choose between working out in the morning versus evening, I staunchly believe that morning workouts are the best and are ideal due to our increased metabolism. Irrespective, working that body off boosts endorphins and other mood-elevating substances that can uplift us. A vigorous sweat workout makes for a good nights sleep, without a doubt.
c) No caffeinated drinks at night
According to a sleep foundation, drinking caffeine at night certainly deprives one of a good sleep. Caffeine is basically a stimulant that is meant to wake one up or stay alert during the day. At one point, I used to drink copious amount of caffeine during exam time or if I was working on something that had a deadline. I soon realized that caffeine blocks sleep-inducing chemicals and increases adrenaline production.
d) Switch off your devices
Lastly, although it sounds like an absolute no-brainer to turn your devices off prior to sleeping or simply put it away, how many of us really practice this? Incessant scrolling through Instagram is not going to help accumulate miles on your “one world” account. And on a more hypothetical note, even if it did, nothing is more important than one’s health.
So to conclude, it’s important to understand the real meaning of sleep and not allow any device to trigger our health. As oxymoron as it sounds, I am actually going to practice the “art of unplugging” as I finish writing this piece.