How to get a good night’s sleep, according to a sleep coach

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The key to a proper, consistent sleep cycle is to condition your body to follow a routine. In photo: The Ikea Purpurbracka duvet cover and pillowcase single size (₱990). Photo courtesy of IKEA PHILIPPINES

Do you know what it takes to get a good night’s sleep?

A 2019 survey from Sleep Cycle says that the Philippines is the fourth most sleep deprived country in the world. This, coupled with the worldwide trend of increased melatonin usage, suggests that we most probably don’t really get enough sleep.

When host Inka Magnaye of the podcast “Sleeping Pill with Inka” asked those at the #MakeSleepCount event hosted by Ikea Philippines last July 7 to raise their hands if they are regularly able to get an eight-hour sleep, hardly a hand was seen up. Scanning the room, it was clear that this audience — one mostly made up of content creators and select members of the media — was the perfect sleep-deprived target audience for the day’s event.

While training your body to be awake in the day and asleep at night may seem like common sense, sleep coach and himbing.ph founder Ria Campos-Lopez says that this is something many of us tend to forget. Those who have experience raising a baby or training puppies may be familiar with this — the key to a proper, consistent sleep cycle is to condition your body to follow a routine.

Below are some tips from Campos-Lopez that may help you get proper rest.

The Ikea Bengta block out curtain retails for ₱590. Photo from IKEA PHILIPPINES/WEBSITE

Fix your room lighting

According to sleep coach Ria Campos-Lopez, lighting is an important factor in the sleep equation. “While our body releases melatonin naturally, we have to train ourselves to make it adapt,” said Campos-Lopez. It’s naturally programmed to think that light means being awake and darkness means sleep. Any exposure to light — whether it be through use of our gadgets/television or through our bedroom lighting could prevent our body from fully releasing the melatonin needed to get us to sleep. For insomniacs, she suggested investing in blackout curtains to ensure that your room stays dark.

Have the right sleep accessories for your sleeping position

Side sleepers, back sleepers, and stomach sleepers are some of the most common types of sleeper positions. Identifying the position you sleep in will help you determine what type of accessories and material — be it a foam or spring mattress or ergonomic or down feather pillow — will be the best for you.

The stamp-style animal designs of these bed linens and pillowcase prints by London-based designer Hannah Wilcox are a good personal touch for your sleep sanctuary. Photo courtesy of IKEA PHILIPPINES

Don’t work in bed

“Your room should be a sanctuary for sleep,” says Campos-Lopez. This means keeping your work space separate from your sleeping area, no matter how big your living space is. By doing so, your body will already recognize the bed as a sleeping area and respond as such. If you’re tossing and turning, get up and change position.

Unplug and destress at least an hour before you plan to sleep

Keeping the mind active before sleeping will only program it to keep awake. Campos-Lopez suggests finding guided meditation and doing breathing exercises on a comfortable chair or mat. This is another way to train ourselves to understand that the bed is our space to sleep.