Getting the right amount of high quality sleep is absolutely critical to everything you want and need to do. There is a lot of hype and glorification of people who claim to function on little to no sleep… and while their are likely a small number of people who can succeed on very little sleep, odds are you and I are not one of them.
So for all of us normal people, here are some things we can do to maximize the effectiveness of the required 7 to 8 hours of sleep we need.
1. Keep a regular bed time (and wake time)
Keeping a regular bed time is on the top of the list because I feel like it is the first thing we through out the window. Staying up late or sleeping in is a band aid solution for time management or over loading ourselves… and it is completely counter productive.
2. Spend 10-30 minutes relaxing before you get in bed
Relaxing before bed should involve an activity that quiets the mind, body, and emotions. I like to read or draw, but mindfulness mediation is also a good way to go.
3. Make sure your day includes regular exercise/physical activity
Just do it already. Make it part of your day.
4. Don’t nap or only take a power nap (10-20 minutes)
Sleeping during the day can be very disruptive to your overnight sleep cycle. If you just can’t make it without a nap, then limit your nap and go see a doctor if the pattern continues.
5. If you can’t fall asleep in 20 minutes, get our of bed and do something relaxing.
Staying in bed tossing, turning and ruminating about how hard it is to fall asleep is a surefire way to not get any sleep. Get up, do a relaxing activity and then try again.
6. Curb the chemicals before bedtime (caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, sugary snacks)
These trouble makers can really get you out of wack when consumed late in the day.
7. Turn off the screens 1-2 hours before bed
The light emitted from electronic screens has a stimulating effect on our brains that prolongs the release of sleep hormones. Turn them off and tune them out.
8. Make sure the bedroom is quiet, comfortable, cool, and dark.
A good mattress, pillow and sheets are a great investment. You should also limit the amount of light in the room coming from alarm clocks, screens, windows and other sources. Keeping the bedroom cool allows your body to more effectively enter sleep cycles.
Getting control of your sleep may also involve challenging what you think about sleeping. Just remember if your thoughts aren’t helping you get to sleep it is time to re-frame them so they are helpful.
What are your tips and tricks for getting high quality sleep?