I’ve come to find that a typical millennial lifestyle is, for all intents and purposes, organized chaos. Our generation lives for the hustle, even if that means somehow juggling work, school, and life in general, all while making sure we're able to block off an hour or so each day that’s unapologetically for ourselves. And if you think it’s a struggle to catch some Zs on top of it all, just imagine what a Hollywood celeb like Rihanna’s sleep schedule must be like. Here’s a hint: It's very limited.
Between serving up chart-topping hits one after another, designing clothes, and launching her massively successful cosmetic company, it’s no wonder this girlboss has wild thoughts (see what I did there?) running through her mind all day every day. One quick glance at this woman’s resume, and you can’t deny she’s worked hard to go from just another pop princess to a self-made powerhouse. And in that industry, time is money, which means work often takes precedence over sleep.
The Fenty Beauty founder recently wrote up an editorial as a guest editor in the December 2017 issue of Vogue Paris. For the piece, Rihanna gave readers an inside look at what her life is really like behind the scenes. I’m sure it won’t come as a shock to you that the woman is busy AF, which is probably why she has so much trouble winding down when it’s time to go to sleep.
Rihanna told Vogue Paris that she only gets about three or four hours of sleep on average each night.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that adults clock in seven to eight hours of sleep per night. So, either Rihanna is superhuman and just doesn’t need as much sleep as the rest of us to function properly (because clearly her success rate proves she’s got life under control), or RiRi's just like you and me: a victim of an overly active mind and a good Netflix binge.
She wrote in the editorial,
I have a lot of trouble switching off. Even when I get home early, which means before 1 a.m., I start binge-watching shows or documentaries, which I love. I can’t go straight to bed.
Seeing as how Rihanna’s been in the spotlight ever since she released her first album in 2005, I can only assume that her body has grown accustomed to sleeping so little. But even though this is her “norm,” sleep deprivation can be a major mental and physical health issue.
According to Julia Walsh, a certified sleep consultant for Good Night Sleep Site North Carolina, the main reason sleep is so important for your well-being is because that's the time your body can rest, restore, and process all of the information it has absorbed throughout the day.
“The correct amount of sleep improves cognitive skills, helps the body fight off illness, increases safety, and improves a person's mood,” Walsh tells Elite Daily. “Lack of sleep decreases the ability to pay attention, motor coordination, and decision-making skills, which can make simple tasks (i.e. walking, driving, and learning new skills) dangerous.”
Factual as this may be, Rihanna never fails to look absolutely stunning when she's in the spotlight, and she continues to kill it in all aspects of her work. So, rather than telling us how many hours of sleep she gets every night, I'm more interested in learning how she doesn't pass out in the recording studio. What is this woman drinking/smoking, because I think I want (or need) some.
If you're struggling to snooze too, there are plenty of ways to relax and clock in the extra hours of sleep your body needs to thrive.
For the record, I’m not here to make judgments on Rihanna’s lifestyle, especially considering that, despite her significant lack of shut-eye, the woman continues to slay all day every day. However, most of us can’t survive on this extremely limited sleep cycle. The good news is, there are plenty of tips, tricks, and behaviors you can implement into your own routine to ensure a better (and longer) night’s rest.
In May 2017, the Financial Times reported that due to millennials' high expectations in the workplace, they're expected to burn out at a younger age than generations before them. In order to prevent that breakdown, it's important that we take care of our minds and bodies through sleep.
Unfortunately, though, this is something of a catch-22, because this type of self-inflicted pressure is one of the root causes of lack of sleep. According to Kelsey Down, a sleep writer for Sleep Train, one of the main components of falling asleep is relaxation. "The world is talking a lot more about sleep these days, and that's important. But if you think of sleep as a high-performance sport, you'll actually stir up more stress around it and feel less able to relax when you go to bed," she tells Elite Daily. "Make choices through the day to support healthy sleep, but don't punish yourself for struggling with something that so many others also struggle with."
Addressing mental roadblocks is also super important when it comes to winding down before bed. In order to quiet the mind and put the responsibilities of the day ahead on hold until morning, experts from mattress company Serta tell Elite Daily that making time for self-care by prioritizing daily exercise, reducing the amount of caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods in your diet, as well as meditating, can all help to "improve sleep and reduce insomnia and stress."
Taking a break from technology for an hour or two before bed can improve your sleep cycle, too.
Prior to the era of mobile technology and Netflix, I'm willing to bet people probably had more leisurely routines before bed. Sure, there's talk of nighttime skincare routines and meditation, but how many of us actually find our zen and fall asleep without scrolling through Instagram one last time?
Most of us are well aware that the blue light emitted by our smartphones disrupts melatonin production (aka the sleep hormone) and negatively affects our body's natural circadian rhythm, therefore messing with our sleep cycle. But did you know marathoning Netflix shows is also affecting your sleep quality?
According to Forbes, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that binge-watching your favorite show to lull you to sleep isn't actually doing you any good. The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan, surveyed 423 young adults on bedtime behaviors. A whopping 80.6 percent of participants said they had watched multiple episodes of a show in one sitting before turning in for the night, and that during this time, they experienced bouts of "insomnia, poorer sleep quality in general, and more daytime fatigue."
Even though I'm low-key fan-girling over the fact that Rihanna and I have something in common, I'm not about losing sleep over it. A word of advice from me to you (and Rihanna, too, if you're reading this), break the Netflix binge after an episode or two, turn off your phone, and go to sleep.