Singaporeans clock an average of 6.5 hours of sleep per night, which is lower than the minimum of seven hours recommended by experts.
In fact, a recent study found that nearly half (44%) of adults in Singapore are clinically sleep deprived!
Just like getting enough exercise and nutrition is important for a healthy lifestyle, getting the right amount of quality sleep each night is crucial as well. Based on the Active Health programme introduced by Sport Singapore, here are four habits you can introduce into your everyday life to ensure you are getting at least seven hours of sleep every night:
1. Turn off all alerts on your mobile device when you go to bed
Using your phone while you are in bed can significantly affect sleep quality. Turn off your alerts to help you fall and stay asleep without disruption, and for a chance to disconnect at the end of a busy day. Switch to flight mode or “do-not-disturb” on your phones, so that notifications will not disrupt your sleep in the middle of the night. Additionally, keep your device out of reach, or face-down if you are using it as an alarm clock and need it close by.
2. Wake up at a consistent time every day (within the same hour)
We all tend to sleep in over the weekends to make up for our sleep debt accumulated over the week. However, such erratic changes to your sleep cycle can do more harm than good. Determine an average wake-up time that best suits your schedule in the work-week. Commit to waking up at this time, or within an hour of it, every single day.
3. No caffeine after 2pm (or a minimum of six hours before bed)
Make the switch to caffeine-free beverages such as decaf coffee, herbal tea, or just water. Be sure that your work space and home is stocked up with these drink options, so they are easily accessible. Caffeine can help you feel more awake and alert, but it also stays in your system for at least six hours. By avoiding caffeine after 2pm, you can fall asleep easier and improve the quality of sleep you get.
4. Be in bed with your eyes closed at least 7.5 hours before wake-up time
Count backwards from the time you wake up to determine what time you should be in bed. Dim your lights, turn off your devices, and take the time to relax. The average person takes about 10-20 minutes to fall asleep, so getting into bed earlier is recommended.
To achieve the recommended hours of sleep per night, choose one of these habits to incorporate into your lifestyle over the next three weeks. Getting enough rest can increase energy levels, productivity, decision-making, and improve many other areas of your life. Remember, habits are formed gradually, and results cannot be seen overnight. You should always strive to be better, not perfect!