I Got a Sleep Consultation for My Insomnia: 3 Things I Learned – CNBC

For me, insomnia presents itself as a struggle to fall asleep or broken sleep that causes me to wake up every few hours. After nights like these, I don’t feel energized or rested the next day.

So, after countless nights of tossing and turning, I decided it was time to seek some expert advice.

I spoke with Jade Wu, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist and mattress firm sleep consultant, who guided me through a one-hour sleep consultation designed to help me get to the root of my my sleepless nights

The exam walked us through topics such as the average bedtime, light exposure and what you should do during nighttime wake-ups.

Here are some gems from our sleep-focused conversation.

3 things I learned from an insomnia sleep consultation

1. Getting your “sleep drive” makes it easier to fall asleep at night

As someone with a hybrid work schedule, my wake-up time often changes from 6:45am on office days to 8am when I’m working from home.

And we’re often told how important it is to go to bed and wake up at the same time, but the concept of a “sleep drive” goes into why this is so significant.

“We have a sleep drive, which is like your appetite for sleep. You increase your appetite for sleep just by being awake,” says Wu.

“So if you’re awake long enough, you’re saving sleep drive points throughout the day, almost like a piggy bank. And hopefully, by the time you go to sleep, you’ll have saved enough.”

However, on work-from-home days with an 8am alarm, I wouldn’t accumulate enough ‘sleep drive points’ to fall asleep by 10.45pm that night, to get an earlier start office the next day, she says.

“After a couple of days in a row like this, I can definitely see that you have trouble falling asleep,” adds Wu.

2. You need exposure to blue light during the day to sleep well at night

In recent years, the effects that exposure to blue light from electronic devices can have on your eyesight and sleep have been widely discussed. And glasses with lenses designed to block blue light have become very popular.

Wu recommends wearing these glasses at night because exposure to blue light too close to bedtime can negatively affect sleep. This is especially true if you don’t get enough sunlight during the day.

But wearing blue-light glasses all day isn’t necessary for most people, and could actually affect sleep, Wu says.

We actually want blue light during the day.

Jade Wu

Behavioral sleep medicine specialist and sleep consultant for Mattress Firm

“The thing is, we really want blue light during the day,” he says. “The way our brain can tell when it’s time to be awake instead of asleep is by the amount of light coming through our eyes, especially blue or shorter wavelength lights. So we need our brain to know that it’s daytime during the day [and] we need the light to enter our eyes.”

But if your optometrist encourages you to wear blue-light glasses to protect your eyes, “definitely follow their advice,” adds Wu.

3. Tossing and turning makes insomnia worse, get out of bed

While it can be frustrating to sleep fewer hours than you’d prefer, forcing yourself to rest will only make it worse, says Wu.

“The more we try to sleep sometimes, the more sleep escapes us,” he says.

“Instead of putting that pressure on yourself, if you’re really feeling wide awake and you know you’re not going back to sleep any time soon, why not get up and do something you enjoy? Consider your extra time to to me”.

You won’t always get eight hours of sleep every night, and that’s okay, she notes. Maybe you can use the time you can’t sleep to read a few pages of a book you’ve been wanting to read, suggests Wu.

The more we try to sleep sometimes, the more sleep escapes us.

Jade Wu

Behavioral sleep medicine specialist and sleep consultant for Mattress Firm

“Treat your sleep like a friend,” Wu says, “so you’ll take your time and prioritize your sleep. But you also won’t be too rigid because friendships have to be flexible, too.”

“We want to have enough flexibility in our relationship with sleep, too. That’s why if you wake up during the night and have trouble getting back to sleep, we say don’t stay and force it. Because “force your friend to hang -se”. out’ simply won’t work and will push them further away”.

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