Sleeping better and smarter

Sleep is very important for maintaining optimal health. We all know that but how many of us actually give thought to this and cultivate healthy sleep practices in our lives?

The major challenge for me has been sleeping well and at the same time making sure I am getting all the work done and having fun. I would like to share some of the insights I have gathered over time about how to get better and effective sleep.

So what’s the best way to sleep well? First of all, I would like to say that if your job is super hectic and you feel that you have to sacrifice your sleep to finish the work load, my suggestion would be to get another one that is more relaxed, even though it doesn’t pay you as well as the current one. I know this would be a big change in your life, but if you feel that you’re overworking and you can’t finish all the given work in the time you have, why not go for an easier option? This will reduce your overall stress and anxiety levels massively and you’ll be able to get a good night’s rest as well.

Secondly, have a night routine set up that primes your body to sleep. If you know how to put children to sleep, you must be knowing how you have to prepare them for it. You get them in comfortable clothes, make sure they’re properly guarded with pillows, and put their favorite toys around them. Well, the same applies for adults as well. It is very useful if you have a set night time routine that prepares you to sleep effortlessly, and have a soothing and calming bed environment that makes you feel comfortable and rested.

Have your own sleep space, that soothes you and calms you down. Eliminate all distractions and electronics. This is a major key to good night’s sleep. Have your bed only for two things: sleep and sex. In this way, whenever you retire to bed, your subconscious mind will know that it’s time to rest now. Make it as comfortable as you can. Instead of dreading your sleep or thinking that it a necessary evil, think of sleep as a cleansing process, and make sure you rest in the best way possible.

Also, having a night routine sets up a boundary from where you can transition towards rest with no distractions. My current night routine is:

  1. Writing my thoughts in my journal and listing 3 good things that happened today. I am starting the practice of also writing what lesson(s) I learned during the day
  2. Reading an inspirational book for 10-15 minutes
  3. Creative visualization
  4. Listening to a meditation or sleep hypnosis video using Bluetooth headphones while I sleep on the bed (I am currently looking at ways how I can make this possible without using my smartphone. Listening to an iPod shuffle loaded with your favorite music and meditations is a great idea as well!)

In my research for this article, I was also reading about the sleeping habits of successful people. And I found few things. One thing is that around 7 hours is a sweet spot for most of them. Although it depends on the individual, I would highly urge you to get at least 7 hours of sleep. No matter what duration works best you, make sure you primarily focus on sleep quality and you have all ideal conditions for the best sleep time possible.

Also, an eye opener (pun intended!) for me was that successful people wake up at the same time, even on the weekends. I have started practicing this habit now. I would suggest taking a nap before going out at night so that you’re feeling refreshed and are not craving for sleep rather than socializing.

Even if I’m partying on the weekends, now my goal is to wake up at the same time in the mornings, proceed with my morning ritual, finish writing along with other errands, and then take multiple naps (maximum 30 minutes) during the day

Other things that I am doing to enhance sleep quality:

  1. No caffeine intake after 2.30 pm. I have set up a reminder on my phone for my last cup of coffee/tea to be 2 pm.
  2. Using a sleep app. I have an Android phone and I use the Sleep cycle app. I track my sleep daily and make sure the sleep quality is getting better. I may buy a Fitbit in future for better tracking and monitoring.
  3. Cooling my apt to 68 deg F
  4. Using the Twilight app on my Android phone to block blue light emission from my computer screen
  5. Wearing orange blue light blocking glasses for an hour before I sleep
  6. Although I’m struggling to keep away from my smartphone and computer at night, but I’m working on the habit of not using them for at least an hour before I go to bed

If you would like to further know about how to develop better sleep habits, I would highly recommend the following resources:

Books:

  1. The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington
  2. Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson

Articles:

  1. How to sleep better? | Helpguide.org

Link: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/how-to-sleep-better.htm

YouTube Videos:

  1. Why do we sleep? | Russel Foster

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWULB9Aoopc

Have strict boundaries and follow your night and sleep routines religiously, and it’ll work wonders for you. I hope this post helps you in rediscovering the importance of sleep in your life. Do share if you find any positive changes happening in your life!

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