18th March is World Sleep Day – and no, that’s not a cue for you to sleep all day, though sleeping in is a great way to spend your days off. Based on the official website, the purpose of World Sleep Day is to raise awareness about the importance of sleep on your health, and how to prevent future sleep deprivation.
Identifying the type of sleeper you are is a good start to establishing a better sleeping routine. There are a few ways to do so: from sleep chronotypes to sleeping “styles” based on your bedtime.
But there’s an easier way to identify what kind of sleeper you are instead of scrolling through personality tests: through your friendship group. Spot yourself, or learn the best ways to emulate (and avoid) your friends’ sleeping habits.
The friend that can sleep anytime, anywhere
Going on trips with this friend is boring enough to make you fall asleep yourself. You can expect them to be unconscious from the moment you’re buckled into your seats to the moment you reach your destination.
While this trait of sleeping anywhere at any time isn’t easy to mimic, there are several healthy sleeping habits that could allow you to fall asleep faster at night.
Now, the crucial part of a healthy sleep routine? Actually having a sleep routine.
By that, it means going to sleep at the same time every night, and getting up at the same time every morning as a surefire way to get regular beauty sleep. This helps your body clock maintain consistency, get better quality rest, and it might even reduce the risk of medical conditions such as heart problems, according to the National Institutes of Health.
The best news: this could mean eventually being able to fall asleep with the same kind of ease your friend has – which means within minutes of your head hitting the pillow.
The friend who’s always napping
You two would be having a full-fledged conversation mid-afternoon through text until they disappear, only to reemerge a few hours later saying, “Sorry, I fell asleep.”
Lucky them, we know – especially since napping during the day has a host of proven health benefits. WebMD lists improvement in memory, your mood and heart health as some of its advantages. But like most good things, naps come with a too-familiar catch – notably when a nap turns into a five-hour sleep, so now you’re tossing and turning in bed at 3am, wide awake.
Fortunately, it’s a relatively easy fix by following some nap guidelines.
Instead of trying to get an hour of rest – that will ironically leave you feeling less rested than before – opting for a power nap, which are short naps that last anywhere from around 10 to 20 minutes, can help you avoid that uncomfortable grogginess that comes with longer nap times.
And though planning your naps might sound more stressful than simply not napping, choosing early afternoon naps over evening ones can help prevent disruptions to your normal sleep routine, warding off the unnecessary 3am alertness.
The friend that is always awake
Aka the one you sent a meme to at 3am on a post-nap night, only to have them instantly react with a laughing emoji, with your first thought being, “Why are you awake?”
We all recognise the effects of a late night and a lack of sleep: fatigue, grumpiness, brain fog, to name a few. However, a prolonged inability to fall asleep at night – or insomnia – can be caused by a number of reasons, ranging from medical conditions to your mental and emotional health, or even doing too much before bed.
A method used to treat insomnia and combat sleep deprivation is through creating a cosy environment to unwind and relax. This means engaging in calming pre-bedtime activities: such as journaling before bed, or reading your favourite book.
But in the physical sense, this also means making a space optimal for your sleeping habits. One of the most natural remedies to reset your circadian rhythm is by creating a cool environment, imitating the way your body temperature drops when preparing your body for sleep.
This doesn’t just stop at putting the air-conditioning on full blast – it also extends to your bed space. By using lightweight duvets, supportive pillows, and a comfortable mattress with good airflow and thermal regulation, you can bring a “chill” night to the next level while trading in insomniac sleeping patterns for well-deserved beauty sleep.