Our 24/7, switch on switch off, instant access lifestyle, bursting with technology is clearly a long way from how our ancient ancestors spent their day. We have the opportunity to extend our normal daylight hours way beyond sunset with a variety of ‘nocturnal activities including watching TV, catching up on emails, talking or texting on our mobile phone, or even working from home.
Filled with activity, our evenings can often be far from winding down. Our brains having been pushed hard throughout the day to maintain high levels of concentration at work remain active and often highly stimulated right up to the time we try to switch off once in bed.
In stark contrast, without the electric light bulb, our ancestors would have begun preparing for sleep as the sun started to go down, naturally slowing down their activity both physically and mentally.
Whilst the discovery of fire and then use of candles would have extended the opportunity to stay awake, this would have been in a mainly sedentary and largely none stimulated environment.
In short, we expect to be able to get to sleep on demand, whilst our bodies and brains are designed to slowly wind down. Thus, having changed our environment we are now out of cinque with our daily body clock.
it’s not surprising therefore that many of us have trouble getting off to sleep, often lying in bed waiting to ‘switch-off’. In addition having extended our waking hours, the quantity of sleep many of us get remains very low, and often below healthy levels.
A recent survey showed that 1/3rd of Londoners are getting less than the recommended minimum of 6 hours per night.
My mission is to provide easy to follow advice and suggestions as to the key elements of our daily routine we can change to provide the greatest opportunity for improved sleep.