Everything You Need to Know About Clean Sleep

Woman sleeping on clean white sheets and white pillow

Written By: Brianna Snyder

The quality and quantity of our sleep is so essential to our health that it’s no wonder Gwyneth got her GOOPy hands on it.

Let’s talk about the GOOP-coined Clean Sleep.

Many of us--around 35%--don’t get the recommended eight hours of sleep every night. Which is tragic! We all know getting enough sleep decreases risk for health conditions, manages your hunger levels, maintains your immune system and helps you retain memory. But because we’re all using our cell phones as alarm clocks and morning papers, and because binge-watching feels so good, we’re compromising even that good sleep that we are getting.

Clean Sleep is about getting the most out of every night’s shuteye. And, yes, as you can imagine, getting clean sleep is going to require you to alter a few things about your routine. But, trust us, it’s worth it.

Here’s how you do it:


1. Stick to your bedtime.

One of the best things about being a grownup is getting to stay up late. I don’t have to stop bingeing “Killing Eve” if I don’t want to! I can go to bed at 2 a.m. on a Monday night! It’s my choice.

But as grownups all learn (hopefully), choices have consequences and late-night bingeing does not a sound sleep make. No, five hours isn’t “good enough” when you normally clock seven or eight.

We bet you’ve heard this before: It’s important to pick your bedtime and stick with it. Going to sleep every night (yes, even weekends) helps the body’s rhythms stay stable. That goes for waking up, too: According to GOOP, “A regular sleep rhythm reminds the brain when to release sleep and wake hormones, which in turn affects all the other hormones, ultimately affecting our overall health.”


2. Chill on the screens.

That thing you do when you’re just lying in bed scrolling Twitter or Tinder or the weather or, heaven help you, your email? Bad. Bad bad bad. In fact, even having your screen on and around you in the hour before you go to bed can disrupt your brain.

So in that pre-bedtime hour, shut everything off. Read a book. Meditate. Take a bath. Let your body and your mind naturally slow down, relax, and get sleepy.


3. Exercise.

There are so many benefits to exercise--lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, calm anxiety and stress, stimulate your mind--and good, restful sleep is just one more of those benefits.

People, we cannot stress this enough. Don’t exercise for weight loss. Exercise because it feels amazing (when you’re finished) and it’s so, so good for you no matter how big or little you are. If you haven’t gotten out there in a while, go take a brisk 20-minute walk. Then see how well you sleep tonight.


4. Make your bedroom a shrine to sleep.

Splurge on those nice West Elm sheets. Get a duvet that makes you happy every time you see it. Get a headboard that reaffirms how together your life is. Buy one of those accent chairs with a little footstool for reading in your beautiful and peaceful bedroom. (And try not to let all of your clothes pile up on it.) Do not eat in your bedroom. Don’t work or watch TV in your bedroom. Make your room a place for sleeping, so much so that just walking in there makes your lids droop.

Also, invest in those good, light-blocking blinds to keep out streetlights and other ambient outdoor brightness. If you’re in an urban area, think about getting earplugs. You want total silence, total darkness, to ensure good, solid, uninterrupted sleep.


5. Get a fancy alarm clock.

So, technically, if you’re sleeping properly, you really shouldn’t need an alarm clock at all. A calculator like this one will tell you when to go to bed if you need to be up by a certain time. How does that work? Well, the rhythms and cycles of sleep are pretty fixed, which is why we can sort of determine when we’ll most likely naturally wake up--right at the tail end of a 90-minute sleep cycle--feeling refreshed and fit as a fiddle for the rest of the day.

But if you’re like me and you’re too scared to sleep without a clock, consider investing in one of those fancy-shmancy clocks that mimics the sunrise. These clocks offer a gentler alternative to the sudden blare of your smartphone clock--which inevitably leads you to associate certain sounds with a vaguely anxious and sick feeling if your friend happens to use your alarm sound as their ringtone (::shudder::)--but with the artificial sunrise, you’ll have light to gradually nudge you awake.

 
 

Facts about sleep (from SleepAssociation.org)

 

Sleep Disorder Statistics:

  • 50-70 million US adults have a sleep disorder.
  • 48.0% report snoring.
  • 37.9% reported unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once in the preceding month.
  • 4.7% reported nodding off or falling asleep while driving at least once in the preceding month.
  • Drowsy driving is responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries annually in the United States.
  • Insomnia is the most common specific sleep disorder,  with short-term issues reported by about 30% of adults and chronic insomnia by 10%
  • 25 Million U.S. adults have obstructive sleep apnea
  • 9-21% of women have obstructive sleep apnea
  • 24-31% of men have obstructive sleep apnea
  • 3–5% of the overall proportion of obesity in adults could be attributable to short sleep

Sleep Deprivation Statistics:

  • 37% of 20-39 year-olds report short sleep duration
  • 40% of 40-59 year-olds report short sleep duration
  • 35.3% adults report <7 hours of sleep during a typical 24-hour period.
  • 100,000 deaths occur each year in US hospitals due to medical errors and sleep deprivation have been shown to make a significant contribution.

Sleep Needs by Age Group:

  • Adult: 7 – 9 hours
  • Teenager: 8 – 10 hours
  • Child 6 – 12 years: 9- 12 hours
  • Child 3 – 5 years:  10 – 13 hours (including naps)
  • Child 1 – 2 years: 11 – 14 hours (including naps)
  • Infants 4 -12 months: 12 – 16 hours (including naps)