8 Sleeping Secrets well revealed by a Harvard dream scientist

Sleep scientist Patrick Fuller, who works as an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, shares the keys to achieving a perfect and restful sleep every night.

Reconciling sleep well every night is a complicated task for many people who suffer from insomnia or stress, who have a busy lifestyle or have failed to establish a good routine. In all cases, poor sleep leads to fatigue, lack of concentration, physical and mental discomfort, irascibility and poor productivity, having negative effects on personal life, work performance and health.

Although there is no absolute consensus when deciding the exact number of hours a person should sleep to rest the next day or it is still discussed whether little sleep is better than nothing or vice versa, there are voices from the scientific community that help us Improve our sleep practices.

Patrick Fuller, an expert and associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, shared with Business Insider everything he does to ensure proper rest every night, thanks to a series of habits and keys that allow him to feel happy and rested.

How to achieve optimal sleep every night according to a Harvard neurologist

  • Waking up at the same time every day: A totally anarchic sleep schedule leads many people to have insomnia problems, since if they wake up one day too late the next day at night they probably don't have a feeling of sleep so soon. Therefore, readjusting schedules and that there are no large oscillations when waking up between a few days and others is very important.
  • Avoid stimulants beyond noon: Many people are inclined to consume caffeine well into the afternoon - or even at night - to achieve an extra supply of energy. This can be detrimental to a restful sleep, especially if the doses are very high or stimulant drinks such as coffee are consumed beyond the equator of the day.
  • Perform at least 20 to 30 minutes of daily exercise: The exercise works as a magic tonic to prevent the onset of stress and numerous diseases but in addition, their daily practice is also ideal for sleeping. Exercising as soon as you get up or at the end of the day increases the quality and quantity of sleep, although just before bedtime it is not advisable to perform a strenuous sport. You can lean towards very different types of activity, from running to yoga.
  • Do not consume alcohol to fall asleep: Some people consider alcohol as a tempting elixir to fall asleep due to its relaxing effects on the muscles or its depressing characteristics of the nervous system. However, in addition to harmful to health, alcohol consumption reduces quality of sleep and decreases the amount of time we spend in the REM phase, the deepest and most restorative of all. If you are going to consume alcohol, it is preferable that it is only one dose and during dinner.
  • Set specific rituals before bedtime: It is important that you set an approximate time as a goal to fall asleep, as this will begin to prepare the internal clock of your body. For example, you can try to dim the lights an hour before bedtime, since the low luminosity accelerates the natural production of melatonin, a hormone that will help you fall asleep.
  • Avoid smart device screens one hour before bedtime: The bright blue light on the screens of smartphones or tablets neutralizes the effects of dim light and causes your brain to "think" that it is daytime. Losing hours of sleep due to this can damage your memory and increase your risk of depression, obesity and stress problems. Therefore, it is advisable to leave electronic gadgets an hour before trying to sleep.
  • Sleep each day at the same time: In creating your sleep routine, bedtime is as important as getting up, since otherwise, you will subtract hours of sleep from resting.
  • Do not become obsessed: You have to be realistic and not become neurotic regarding the fulfillment of this routine. If one day you spoil this schedule, resume it the next time feeling motivated and not guilty.