GQ Lab
Illustration: Tibor Kárpáti

How To Master Sleep, Once And For All

By GQ Middle East
12 March 2019
Five ways to hit the hay the right way

A day can only be as strong as the night’s sleep that came before it. Treat the perfect sleep as an investment in tomorrow’s you – and he’ll be super grateful for it.

1. Stay Cool
Run hot in the night? A heap of us do. High body temperatures and a warm bedroom can impact your sleep for the worse.
The research is clear: a room temperature of 17-20 Celsius is the sweet spot.

Sure, you can set the air conditioning to the precise temperature, but keep the room well-ventilated and closing the curtains during the day to avoid the greenhouse effect in sunny climates.

Finally, cool shower before going to bed acts like a reverse alarm clock – signalling to the body that it’s time to wind-down.

2. Try some tech
Yes, the blue light from our phones and screens play havoc with our eyes and natural sleep triggers – that’s what the iPhone’s Night Shift and applications like flux are there to help with. But don’t think that Silicone Valley is totally out to ruin your 8 hours a night.

Bose have put their audio smarts into sleepbuds: miniature pods that block-out noise (like snores) and are pre-loaded with soothing sounds for those who need a sonic wind-down. On the other end of your sleep journey, Philips’ Wake-Up light simulates a gradual sunrise, which will give your body the smoothest, bio-hacked way of coming out of a slumber.

3. Moderate the caffeine
You’ve heard it before. Hear it again. Caffeine consumption in high quantities is one sure-fire way to spend long hours tossing and turning and ruing the third coffee of the day.

To ensure that the jolt of caffeinated energy doesn’t interfere with your sleep, treat a post-lunch coffee as the absolute last chance, final-exit-off-the-highway. And stick to that. 

Looking to wean-off a little? Try subbing in a smoothie, juice, or – bear with us – water.

4. Don’t eat before bedtime
Your mum warned you. We’re following it up. The one of the best things you can do for your sleep cycle is sitting down for dinner by – ideally before – 7:30pm. Think of it as paying due respect to your body clock – and maybe even buying you some extra hours for valuable family (or Netflix) time.

Stick to a sleeping routine
Think back to your childhood – your sleep routine was likely super regimented: dinner, brush your teeth, maybe some reading, and out like a light. Secret: it totally still works in adulthood.

Build a bedtime ritual that’s enjoyable and relaxing. It needn’t start in the bedroom – think about curling up on the couch with a book. Treat the bedroom – and your bed – as sacred. Leave phones, laptops, tablets well out of arm’s reach, and train your mind to know that with bed, comes sleep.

5. Exercise, at the right times
Yes, exercise. Sure, it might seem that the last thing you need when you’re looking to relax is to do the exact opposite. But an early evening run or trip to the gym are tried and trusted ways to ensure that the time it takes to fall asleep is kept to a minimum. Exercise may even help alleviate with cases of insomnia, up to halving the time it takes to get more comfortable shut-eye.