Sleeping the healthy range of 7 to 9 hours a day translates to spending a third of your life sleeping. Since this is a big part of your life and essential for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, you should work to maximise your sleep outcomes.
Unfortunately, given the demands and distractions of modern life, people are prone to neglecting sleep in order to chase greater success in their lives. Asia and Singapore have some of the worst sleepers in the world, with 55% of people surveyed in our sleep study admitting that they sleep 6 hours or fewer each night.
Of the respondents in Singapore, nearly 1 in 3 indicated they were not satisfied with their quality of sleep. The good news is that taking even small steps in improving your sleeping habits can result in significant benefits in your health and quality of life.
How to get good sleep?
To guide you in making small changes to your night routine, here are some simple dos and don'ts you should consider before bedtime.
1. Create a sleep-friendly environment
As far as possible, you should eliminate any source of distraction that may keep you up in bed or interrupt your sleep.
By keeping your room dark, quiet and cool enough, you are creating an ideal environment to fall asleep more easily and enjoy quality, uninterrupted sleep through the night.
2. Have a regular sleeping pattern
If you complete a task regularly enough, it becomes muscle memory. That's what you should aim to do with your sleep routine.
Adhering to a sleep routine helps establish a natural rhythm or a "body clock" that your body becomes familiar with. This way, you naturally wind down close to your regular bedtime and wake up refreshed each morning.
3. Do something comforting for you
Many people have preferences when it comes to how they like to wind down for the day. Common comfort activities may include drinking a glass of warm milk, taking a warm shower, reading a book or meditating.
The trick is to find what works for you. While some of these things may not be scientific in nature, if you get into a routine and feel at ease, sleep will come much easier.
Find something that calms you, and will not become too engrossing or intense, as it is meant to help you fall asleep. You don't want to end up spending the next two hours digesting a large meal, finishing the rest of the book or cooling off after a vigorous workout.
1. Don't eat a large meal
Eating a large meal one or two hours before your bedtime means that your body will be trying to digest the food when you are trying to sleep. This can be a recipe for poor sleep, including experiencing heartburn or insomnia.
If you are really hungry before bedtime, opt for a small portion of low-fat milk, whole grain snacks, low-fat yogurt or a banana.
2. Ease off screens (including handphones, TV and video games)
Firstly, browsing social media channels on your handphone, watching dramas on television or playing video games can be extremely absorbing. If you are in front of the screen doing these things, you may easily find yourself making excuses to defer your bedtime.
Secondly, most screens emit blue light that inhibits the release of sleep hormones, such as melatonin, in your body. Sleep hormones are your body's way of easing into "sleep mode" each night.
3. Avoid caffeine, sugary or alcoholic drinks
Apart from food, you should pay attention to what you drink. Beverages that have high caffeine or sugar content are typically consumed for their energising effects, and can take hours to wear off. This can affect your ability to fall asleep or interrupt any sleep pattern you have already implemented.
You also want to stay away from alcohol too close to your bedtime as it can ruin the quality of your sleep. Even though it may initially cause a high or drowsiness to aid sleep, it can affect your sleep later in the night.
Instead, consider drinking a warm glass of milk, which can be soothing, or herbal teas, which are caffeine-free and contain ingredients that help with relaxation.
#Onemorehour of sleep can make all the difference
AIA is committed to helping our clients live healthier, longer and better lives. We believe a significant part of the solution lies in improving your sleep quality.
Living up to this promise, we aim to support your lifestyle changes, regardless of how small they may be, to build towards getting better sleep each night. We have recently rolled out our dedicated sleep AIA Content Hub to provide insights and tips to encourage better sleep.
We are focusing on small and practical steps. This is why our #OneMoreHour movement aims to encourage just one more hour. Starting small and seeing positive changes can have a domino effect that will spur you to do more and encourage the people around you to get on board.
We are also going to integrate our AIA Vitality wellness programme to reward customers for making the small lifestyle changes in your journey to getting adequate and good quality sleep.
Better quality life
As you get more and better quality sleep, your can expect beneficial side-effects. You will experience a reduced likelihood of suffering from chronic diseases, increased ability to maintain a healthy weight, stronger immune system, boosted mood and energy levels, and reduced stress and anxiety, among many others.
What this leads to is a better quality life and potentially longer life expectancy. To live confidently, you need both health and a means to provide for yourself in your golden years.
This is where you can leverage on our expertise with a policy, such as the AIA Pro Lifetime Protector (II), that ensures that you are on top of your changing needs at every stage of your life.
This all-in-one policy lets you protect your downsides and plug your protection gaps while you are young, by providing guaranteed protection against death and disability (in the first 10 years). As you get older, start accumulating more wealth and have fewer financial obligations, the focus of the policy shifts from protection to wealth accumulation.