•   
  •   

Health & Fitness Netflix's New Headspace Series Explains Why We Can't Hack Sleep (and Why Eight Hours Is a Myth)

12:10  26 april  2021
12:10  26 april  2021 Source:   esquire.co.uk

The Full Moon Really Could Be Messing With Your Sleep

  The Full Moon Really Could Be Messing With Your Sleep As the so-called Wolf Moon approaches, you might find you’re not getting as much shut-eye as you’d like. But don’t worry, on this occasion it’s probably not because of the pandemic or work worries. You can blame the full moon. A new study has found that in the days leading up to a full moon, people go to sleep later in the evening and sleep for shorter periods of time – regardless of whether they live in cities or the countryside. Researchers believe this may be due to increased light exposure, however other studies suggest humans are simply attuned to the moon’s cycle.The next full moon in the UK is on Thursday January 28 and will appear for roughly three nights.

The app's director of meditation, Eve Lewis Prieto, on the link between mindfulness and better rest, and why great slumber is about quality hours, not quantity © YE AUNG THU - Getty Images The app's director of meditation, Eve Lewis Prieto, on the link between mindfulness and better rest, and why great slumber is about quality hours, not quantity

Imagine that you are going on a long run. Now imagine turning up to exercise having just eaten a double cheeseburger and drunk two pints of coffee, without your trainers on. Sound stupid? This is often the level of preparation we sleepwalk into our evening routine with, waiting until our heads hit the pillow to run through all the things which might be keeping us awake, our eyes still wide from the glare of our phones.

"We take sleep for granted," says Eve Lewis Prieto, director of meditation at Headspace, which has paired up with Netflix for a new series recommending a more mindful approach to rest. "A third of adults have problems either going to sleep or waking up in the night, and I think a lot of that is driven by the stress and anxiety we experience in our day."

6 foods that'll help you sleep better (plus the ones that might be keeping you up)

  6 foods that'll help you sleep better (plus the ones that might be keeping you up) Struggling to sleep? Here's what to eat – and avoid – for a better night's kipOf course, there are many other causes of sleep deprivation. But if you've invested in the best mattress, taken heed of our tips on how to sleep better, and ruled out these reasons you might be waking up at night, the next place to turn might be your diet.

Prieto left a stressful job in advertising to work for Headspace years ago and has since helped to develop their meditation offering. In that time the perception of meditation has has shifted, with research pointing to its benefits for everything from mood to productivity to, yes, sleep.

"There is now growing research to show that practising meditation and mindfulness in the day not only helps us with stress during the day but when we go to bed at night," she says. "At night it can feel like our problems are magnified, and our body's response to stress is releasing cortisol and adrenaline. People’s stress and anxiety this year has just skyrocketed and it’s had a huge impact on our sleep."

Prieto is the soothing narrator of the seven-part series, with 15-minute episodes split between debunking sleep myths and ending with a wind-down exercise. It's part entertainment, part comfort blanket, like a choose-your-own-adventure that always ends up in the land of nod.

Can't sleep? What to do when you can't sleep - the 5 techniques to drifting off

  Can't sleep? What to do when you can't sleep - the 5 techniques to drifting off FALLING ASLEEP can be very difficult for some people who find it hard to put the worries of the day behind them in time for the night - especially during the current coronavirus pandemic. For those of you not catching enough z's, Express has found 5 techniques to use when you can't sleep and are dying to drift off.The most important thing when trying to fall asleep is to build up a state of relaxation and serenity.

The series challenges sleep myths, like whether you can drink coffee in the afternoon (actually you can), if exercise in the evening keeps you awake (not necessarily), and how late you should be drinking alcohol (allow two hours of not drinking before bedtime, if you can). It also takes on the eight-hour sleep myth, explaining it's more about aiming for a range between seven and nine hours and not obsessing when you fall short. Similarly, Prieto has learned from researchers that the idea that you should keep a consistent bedtime is in fact less important than keeping to a consistent wake-up time.

One episode is dedicated to our phone usage, and while much is already known about how blue light-emitting devices battle against our sleep impulses, Prieto believes that it's more about how you use your phone, not whether you use it at all. Her wind-down routine features a playlist of soundscapes, like falling rain in a forest – much more soothing than tuning into the people shouting outside your window – and doing a breathing exercise which plays on her phone. "It’s not that using your phone is bad, it tends to be our relationship to it that is," she says. "So if you’re responding to emails just before bed and your phone is two inches from your face, our body will released dopamine making it hard to quit the device."

This is what really happens when you don't get enough sleep

  This is what really happens when you don't get enough sleep Here's what happens to your body after one night, one week and even longerBut what are the health implications if you don't get enough shut-eye for a prolonged period of time? We spoke to the experts about what really happens to your health if you experience sustained sleep deprivation:

Sleep tech has boomed in recent years, with apps tracking our REM hours and lights mimicking the patterns of the sun as people hunt for a more peaceful snooze. Prieto used to use a sleep tracking app, but stopped because she was obsessing over analysing how many hours she got. The sleep industry works like the diet industry, promising a silver bullet to our restless nights, but Headspace's philosophy is that you can't hack your way to a better night's sleep. "When we don’t get enough sleep we feel frustrated and angry, and so it’s normal to want to have a quick fix," she says. "It’s like the promise of getting the perfect body in seven days, we are a culture of quick gratification."

Instead of instant results, taking up the practise of mindfulness is a way to gradually change our relationship with our emotions and to do some of the work of preparing for bedtime before we hit the pillow. "If we can bring more awareness to how we respond to things in the day using mindfulness, then hopefully when we get to go to bed we’ve been able to put a bit of space between us and our thoughts and feelings," Prieto says. "Often it isn’t the stressful event in our day but how we continue to fuel the storyline, which is why if we’re feeling a lot of anxiety and uncertainty that can really show up in our dreams."

The perfect night's sleep then is not a pill, app or eight hour stretch of time away, but a relationship you have with your emotions, which needs constant work. That might sound like tougher, but like the best things in life, it can at least be done for free.

Headspace Guide to Sleep is on Netflix from 28 April

Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox

SIGN UP

Need some positivity right now? Subscribe to Esquire now for a hit of style, fitness, culture and advice from the experts

SUBSCRIBE

How to keep fit with Apple Watch: A complete guide to the Activity and Workout apps .
How to keep fit with Apple Watch: A complete guide to the Activity and Workout appsThis feature covers everything you need to know about the Apple Watch and its fitness features, from making sure you select the right workout and changing your Move goal, to competing with friends and using third-party fitness apps with it.

usr: 0
This is interesting!