In a recent interview with Jimmy Fallon and the Wall Street Journal, actress and star of the new film Madame Web Dakota Johnson stated that sleep is her number one priority and she needed a minimum of 10 hours of sleep, with 14 hours being the ideal amount.
So should we all sleep as much as Dakota, and is there such a thing as having too much sleep?
Dr Sophie Bostock, a sleep expert at Bensons for Beds, praises Dakota for shining a light on the importance of sleep and its impact on both our physical and mental health.
Dr Bostock says, “It’s great that Dakota is bringing attention to the importance of sleep and its many benefits. Sleep is crucial in helping replenish energy stores in our muscles and regulating our emotions, as well as improving memory, focus, and concentration.”
While a minimum of 10 hours of sleep is clearly working for Dakota, she cautions that everyone has different sleep patterns and this approach may not be suitable for everyone.
Dr Bostock explains: “Sleep is an extremely personal thing, and we all have different sleep needs, so while we might occasionally need a long sleep if we’re very sleep-deprived, doing this as the norm isn’t suitable for everyone. A healthy sleep routine means supporting the body’s natural circadian rhythms. We have evolved to be active and alert during daylight hours and to rest and recover at night. Excessive sleep during the day, despite good intentions, may actually make us feel more lethargic.”
Dakota goes on to say that she also doesn’t have a set wake-up time and wakes up depending on her work schedule. If she has a day off, she will aim to sleep as long as she possibly can, as being well rested is her main priority in life.
Dr Bostock comments: “Our individual needs can change from day to day. For people who are looking to improve the quality of their sleep on a consistent basis, having a set schedule can really help. If you aim to wake up and prepare for bed at a similar time each day, this will strengthen your circadian rhythms and has been shown to enhance both deep sleep and REM sleep. Recent research has found that sleep consistency is a stronger predictor of long-term health outcomes than how many hours you sleep for.”
Dr Bostock shares her top 10 ways to have the best night’s sleep:
- Ensure you have sufficient time for sleep, aiming for a minimum of seven hours each night for optimal health and daytime function.
- Support natural melatonin production by dimming the lights 90 minutes before bedtime and keeping your bedroom as dark as possible. An eye mask can enhance deep sleep.
- Improve sleep quality with consistent sleep timing, strengthening circadian rhythms, and enhancing both deep and REM sleep.
- Boost circadian rhythms by exposing yourself to natural daylight within an hour of waking up for at least 10 minutes daily.
- Regular physical activity contributes to better sleep, promoting faster sleep onset, longer duration, and increased deep sleep.
- Create a sleep-conducive environment by maintaining a slightly cooler room temperature and allowing air circulation.
- Limit alcohol intake at least two hours before bedtime to prevent disruptions in sleep quality and fragmented sleep cycles.
- Manage stress by dedicating the last half-hour of the day to enjoyable and relaxing activities, such as spending time with loved ones, reading, or listening to music.
- Avoid eating late to support quality sleep, completing the last main meal at least three hours before bedtime. Consider a light, healthy snack if hungry.
- Explore cold water immersion in the mornings, such as wild swimming or cold showers, as it may help balance stress responses and contribute to faster sleep onset and improved sleep quality.