Over the past week on my Sleep Experiment, I have swapped out white noise on YouTube for no technology at all. That’s right, instead of drifting off to the soothing sound of rain and waves, I ditched my phone/television/laptop for hour before bed.
In case you’re new to this experiment, let me bring you up to speed…
After coming off my sedative antidepressants a couple of months ago, my sleep has seriously tanked (goodbye, dreams). Hence, I decided to try some simple practices that have been highly praised on health websites, TV shows and news headlines. The aim of this little science experiment (because obviously I have been making graphs of my progress, don’t at me) is to improve: how many hours I’m sleeping for, the quality of that sleep and how long it takes for me to fall asleep. Last week, I tried listening to bedtime stories (for adults, not the Hansel and Gretel variety) and white noise, and found that it made no significant difference to my sleep scores.
So, did reading and doing other relaxing activities instead of scrolling through social media, improve my sleep?
Again, not really.
Let’s start with the hours I spent asleep; there was a slight (and by slight, I mean another 1% difference) increase in the amount of sleep I got. There were some winning nights and some losers, but the majority weren’t too bad. I still struggled to get past the baseline recommended amount (7 and a half hours for adults), so I guess screens hadn’t really been a problem. On average, I got the same sleep quality score as I had with the white noise, showing that there was no affect of reading on that. And then there was the time spent trying to fall asleep…oh boy. Even after the first night, it became apparent that it took longer for me to drift off – it felt as long as it did before I’d even started this whole shindig.
But that folks, is why this experiment exists! I’m happy to suffer sleep deprivation for the name of science and so that you don’t have to.
Next week, I’ll be attempting the military method – a technique involving breathing, relaxation and imagery.
See you next time!
Featured Image Credit 📷: Leon Bublitz