5 MIN READ, MAY 26, 2021
5 MIN READ, MAY 26, 2021
Seems that in 2021 there’s no need to explain the importance of sleep to anyone. Yet, we keep having problems with it. "What is wrong with me? Why couldn’t I just go to sleep earlier yesterday?" We still punish ourselves with such thoughts. Don’t we? And for someone, they might be the core of the problem, highlights Dr Robert Oexman, Founder & CEO Somly, a telemedicine company helping people beat insomnia using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Askona Life Group CBTI Advisor. Anxiety around sticking to the rules of good sleep might lead to the opposite, stated Dr Oexman during the panel discussion at EMERGE 2021. What he’s been telling his patients is to give it a couple of weeks to set up, be patient and consistent, but no matter what you do, don’t expect results immediately.
Stewart Rogers,Editor-in-Chief, Dataconony, Dr. Rober Oexman, President & Founder, Somly, Parneet Pal, Chief Science Officer, Wisdom Labs, Mike Chernetsov, CPO, Loóna
Speaking at the same panel Parneet Pal, a Harvard-trained physician and Chief Science Officer at Wisdom Labs, a company that helps businesses solve such problems as stress, burnout, anxiety and loneliness in the workplace, highlighted the inevitable impact of the pandemic on the level of anxiety of the population in the whole world. Which in many cases affected sleep. Insomnia in the pandemic times is linked to depression and loneliness, she said: "You might think it’s a natural reaction of the body in the face of stress and uncertainty. But a lot of us don’t have the tools to cope with it, we don’t know what to do with those anxious thoughts, so it triggers insomnia".

Being an expert in CBT, Dr Oexman looked at the problem through this model and acknowledged the negative impact of irregular bedtime schedule, alcohol intake, and caffeine consumption during the pandemic. Interestingly, he observes patients who spend 12 hours in bed, and this prolonged rest doesn’t provide them with more sleep, but rather with even lower quality sleep.
One of the related problems is also that we tend to expect our brain to turn off almost immediately after we jump in bed, noted Ilya Mutovin, entrepreneur and biohacker, the author of a book on the topic, speaking at EMERGE 2021 Moscow hub together with Kseniya Sholina, New Product Development Director at Askona Life Group, and Maxim Kashulinsky, Publisher of Reminder Media that covers wellbeing. There are three phases that our brain usually goes through. One is when our brain is fully active, another is when it’s passive while we sleep, but there’s also another phrase, which we tend to forget, said Ilya Mutovin. It’s when our brain is awake but not fully active such as when we, for example, lie on a couch and daydream or read a book, or when we meditate. And it is OK when we cannot just jump from the first option to the second (this would be similar to fighting with fire). We need to go through the latter phase to prepare for a good sleep, stated Ilya Mutovin.

Remember what we used to do each night before going to sleep when we were kids, reminded Maxim Kashulinsky: "Children have got a daily before-bedtime-routine. Parents take their toys away, lead kids to the bathroom, then read books to them. But why not have such a routine when you’re a grown-up? It works the same way for adults".

This idea lies in the basement of the Loóna app that reinvents bedtime storytelling using meditative colourings. Mike Chernetsov, Loóna's CMO and one of the panellists that spoke to Dr Oexman and Parneet Pal at EMERGE 2021, said the app made a bet on the duet of human imagination and art, that, as the creators believe, together are powerful tools for handling stress. This makes the app a nice pre-bedtime practice. Repeating simple actions help you distract the mind, highlighted Mike Chernetsov.

But it’s not just what you do before going to sleep, but also what’s around you and your bed. Being Askona Life Group Advisor, Dr Robert Oexman helps the company, which is a large producer of beddings and a developer of sleep-related smart services, to create the right accessories for the bedroom. From pillows to ventilation, it all matters for your sleep quality.
Maxim Kashulinsky, Publisher, Reminder Media, Ilya Mutovin, CEO, Zoon and Kseniya Sholina, New Product Development Director, Askona Life Group at Sber hub in Moscow
Speaking on EMERGE 2021 stage, Kseniya Sholina remembered the time she walked into a fellow biohacker’s bedroom and was impressed by its setting and mostly by his double blackout curtains. There are already many smart solutions developed to make your bedroom perfect, including adjustable mattresses, pillows, and bed bases. For example, iSense mattresses by Sleep.8 monitor your heart rate, breathing, and depth of sleep cycles, allowing you to pinpoint factors that impact your individual quality of sleep. As well as transformable bed bases like ErgoSmart or Ergomotion Element by Askona that can also adjust to your needs such as dealing with snoring.

Dr Oexman also agrees with the importance of setting up the environment. His ground rules are: take the reading out of bed, cool down the bedroom, dim the lighting, don’t freak out if you couldn’t sleep well one night, it’s not a catastrophe and you’re not a robot.
You need to exercise to match your circadian rhythm, Parneet Pal believes. Maxim Kashulinsky agrees: to prevent yourself from falling into so-called social jetlag (a state when your organism cannot switch from one sleep regimen of your weekend to the different regimen you follow during working days), you’d better learn to wake up and go to bed at the same hours each day of the week.

You shouldn’t forget, said Parneet Pal, that all of the systems of our body are connected and optimized to work together, so sleep is linked to hunger, food system, hormonal system and all the metabolic processes in the body. Hence she believes one should think integrative about their well-being and bear in mind that sleep is the first of the factors in the whole equation of good health.
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Program Director & PR, EMERGE
Passionate for deep tech, VC and smart events. Aspiring filmmaker, harpist and yogi.