Millennials include all those born roughly between 1982 and 2004, and they are the first generation to be raised entirely on personal portable technology, social media networks, immersive media and a lifestyle that never seems to rest. Over the years, this segment of the population has undergone a variety of studies, including their eating habits, use of technology, and cultural attitudes. When it comes to their sleep patterns, there are conflicting reports. In general, it has been found that millennials are sleeping more hours of the day. It means they appear to be doing rather well, especially when compared with Generation X members. However, Millennials are also reporting higher levels of stress which leads many to consider that the sleep they’re getting is not good enough. If you’re a millennial who is struggling to get a good night’s sleep, here are some tips to help.
Are Sleep Apps Counterproductive?
As a millennial, you will have come to rely on several apps. It could be one for counting the number of steps you make every day, how many miles you walk, measuring your heart rate and counting the hours of sleep. A sleep app may be of benefit in that it has highlighted you may have a problem, but the time you spend looking at your screen is actually counterproductive. The light emitted from your electronic devices is short-wavelength-enriched. It means that it has a higher concentration of blue light than natural light, and it is the blue light which affects your levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, but not in a good way.
Embrace Healthy Sleep Habits
It might not sound like the coolest thing to do but creating a sleep routine is important. This routine should include a set time for sleep and if you’re not asleep within 15 minutes, read a real book (not an e-reader) under dim light to relax.
Adopting a healthy diet is another essential habit to embrace, and that includes avoiding late night snacks because indigestion can interrupt your sleep. If you’re a smoker, then that last cigarette before bedtime needs to be cut out, as nicotine is a stimulant. Similarly, an alcoholic nightcap is likely to wake you up in the middle of the night.
Regular exercise is something else to include in your daily routine and the best time is in the morning or early afternoon. Completing your exercise routine just before you go to bed will only make it harder to get to sleep.
A Comfortable Place to Sleep
Having a comfortable mattress will make a big difference to your night’s sleep but finding the right mattress can be a challenge. The real test for any mattress is whether you enjoy a deep sleep and you can only reflect on that after you’ve made your purchase.
Comfort is also essential when it comes to your pillow, but again, finding the best one can be difficult. Is it better if your pillow is made of memory foam, latex, or natural materials? Are cotton pillows better? For greater insight, the experts at Down & Feather Co. can help you decide between feather or down pillows.
Your bedroom environment should be conducive to sleep. In other words, it needs to be quiet and free of distractions. That means leaving your phones, tablets, games consoles and TV in another room. Your bedroom has to be the place to go to when you want to sleep. Not check on your social media pages, binge-watch the latest Netflix series, or catch up on your emails. It will also help if your room is dark and cool.
Your Circadian Rhythm Driver and Homeostatic Sleep Drive
These are just fancy names for processes which control your sleep. The Homeostatic Sleep Drive is what gets you to sleep initially and the longer you stay awake, the more your sleep drive increases. Once you’re asleep, your Circadian Rhythm driver takes over later in the night. There are several things you can do to improve how these two processes function.
A bedtime ritual can be very helpful as it is relaxing. Consider taking a bath, eating a bedtime snack, drinking a milky drink, or reading a book. If you find your thoughts running away with you when you’re trying to get to sleep, a white noise generator, soft music or a distant TV may help. It might help to write down some things that are on your mind and organize your next day activities on paper.
Introduce an Electronic Media Curfew
Millennials may be the first generation to be raised on personal portable technology, but it is a double-edged sword. Your cell-phones, tablets, computers and other electronic gadgets are a huge part of your life, and it can be challenging to put them down, even when you want to go to sleep. Leaving your smartphone on the nightstand might not seem like such a big deal, but it is affecting your sleep more than you think.
The blue light emitted by the screens of your electronic devices restricts the production of melatonin. This is the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm. Reduced melatonin levels make it harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. It’s a good idea to introduce a gadget-free zone in your bedroom and give yourself at least 30 minutes of gadget-free time before hitting the hay.
Electronic devices also keep your mind engaged, tricking your brain into thinking it needs to stay awake. Surfing the web, answering emails, reading Facebook posts are experiences that make it hard to relax. Your mind needs time to unwind after spending all day surrounded by technology.
Keeping your mobile device on your nightstand, even if you’re not looking at it, can still disturb your sleep. The late-night reminders, text and email notifications are going to keep waking you up.
Getting enough sleep is essential if you want to be healthy, happy, and productive. The actual amount of sleep you need depends on several factors. A good guideline to follow is that if you often feel tired at work, long for a nap or fall asleep during your morning commute, your body is telling you it needs more sleep.