In a world that never stops, with offices open around the clock and global business operating throughout international time zones, it seems that we have been tricked to believing that success is measured by the sleepless determination of those who never stop. Not even at night. Yet in recent years there has been a shift in the understanding of sleep, and with more successful figures exposing to the world the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, we are now becoming increasingly aware that getting around eight hours of sleep every night is inherently linked to success—whatever that might mean to you—and not the other way around.
From Arianna Huffington to Jeff Bezos and even the NFL quarterback player Tom Hardy, it is becoming clear that sleep is making a comeback, so much so that the consulting firm McKinsey recently evaluated the sleep industry, consisting of all things sleep-related, at $30 to $40 billion a year. This can indeed be perceived as the monetisation of sleep as a global trend, but it can also be seen as our desperate need to mend our distorted sleep habits and begin a new era of sleeping well.
So what does good sleep mean and how can we get it? Perhaps a good starting point is what bad sleep means to our body. The factors affecting sleep are many. From stress to light intake, our sleep-wake cycle is dictated by a delicate mechanism in our body, otherwise known as circadian rhythms. The symptoms are equally different but generally speaking, short-lived or interrupted sleep will make you feel overly emotional, distracted, crave sugars and high-fat foods on the short term, but on the long-term, sleep deprivation and disrupted sleep schedules have been linked to increased risk for several cancers, most notably colon and breast and lead to ageing skin, as our skin struggles to heal when we are tired.
And while fixing our bad sleep habits might look like luxurious bedding, designer nightstands and a mattress comprised of a dozen layers, at LYS Technologies we believe it is much simpler and more accessible than that. In fact, our approach to tackling sleep disruption is through understanding how light intake habits affect our sleep-wake cycles and how simple behavioural change can improve these patterns.
Much like Ariana Huffington writes in her book The Sleep Revolution, shifting habits is the first step and a tool that is available to everyone. “Creating a transition ritual to sleep is absolutely key.” For Huffington this included having a bath, getting into pyjamas, and “setting ground rules, such as turning off my devices,” she adds. In a similar approach to Huffington, at LYS Technologies we believe that shifting our habits around light can and will have longlasting effects on how we sleep. For LYS Technologies, the habit of Huffington's sleep-ritual has been interpreted as an understanding of light’s effects on our sleep-wake cycle and getting the right type of light at the correct time of our roughly 24-hour cycle.
The need for sleep is on the rise, with that there is no arguing. Even Elon Musk, who notoriously works 120 hour weeks has admitted to the toll this has had on his physical and psychological wellbeing. The question is, does this mean a total cash out on sleep-related equipment, or should we first try to use our ability to shift habits with the right guidance and insights?