Sleep Timings, Sleep Cycles and Health

Even More Sleep Secrets from Harvard’s Top Sleep Researcher

Posted By Erin on Oct 5, 2016

Harvard sleep scientist, Patrick Fuller recommends dimming the lights about an hour before bed as an extra reminder to your body that it’s time for bed. It’s a good subconscious reminder that even if you want to watch one more episode of that favorite show or get the dishes done, that it’s about to lie down on a comfy foam mattress (like a Nectar mattress) for some rest. Low light signals to the body to start producing melatonin, a hormone crucial for sleep. Fuller says that this practice has taken some getting used to for the rest of the members of his family. “My wife thinks I’m a little weird because I start dimming the lights,” Fuller said. “But I really feel like it sets the mood for my sleep.”

Stay away from Wine and Beer

A lot of people drink alcohol because it helps them sleep better, the problem comes when it’s the middle of the night and the effects of that evening nightcap wear off. The results can leave you tossing and turning, your body not able to handle its change in chemistry. Fuller recommends that you don’t drink alcohol at least a few hours before bed to give your body time to adjust itself. “It’s a bad, bad medicine to use for the purposes of sleep,” Fuller said. “If I do have a drink, I try to limit it to one drink. I’ll have that closer to dinner time.”

Don’t Stress, Don’t Obsess

If you can’t sleep, maybe the worst thing to do is to worry about it. Often times sleepless nights involve us tossing and turning on your foam mattress, worrying about the sleep time you’re missing. This is counter-intuitive on a couple of levels: it adds more stress to your life and it also subconsciously trains you to see your bed as a place of negativity. It’s so important to keep the sanctity of the foam mattress. But if you have a couple nights where you go to bed late or don’t get the sleep you want, don’t worry about it. Even as a sleep scientist, Fuller has days where he just can’t fall asleep. He said he still tries to keep the schedule even when it’s up and down. “As boring as it sounds, I find that when I do this I feel good. I feel happy when I wake up, I feel rested,” Fuller said. “If I do have a day where I mess up that schedule, I don’t feel like myself the next day. I feel very incentivized to stay on my schedule.”

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