Expert Defines: Healthy Sleep
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CHARLES CZEISLERSo a lot of people think that if they have something to drink before bed, that will be the best way for them to fall asleep. The problem is, if you have alcohol on board when you're sleeping, then the sleep that you have will be much more likely to be broken up by episodes of wakefulness. Every shot of alcohol takes two hours to metabolize.
Try to minimize stimulants like caffeine. For example, caffeine has a six to nine hour half life.
We had people read either from a printed book or from a light emitting tablet, like an iPad. One of the things that happened compared to reading from a printed book was that it suppressed the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. It made people more alert when they were reading. It took longer for them to fall asleep. It shifted their circadian rhythms by about an hour and a half to a later hour.
Establishing a schedule where you could wind down in the hour or two before you go to sleep at night, make it a little bit of a ritual. Irregular schedules where you're going to sleep at all different times, those are associated with adverse health effects and increased risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic diseases, and poor performance even in school. Exposure to light during the daytime, particularly outdoor light, is terrific for enhancing our synchronization of our internal biological clock to the 24 hour day, which should help us to maintain consolidated sleep at night.