I’m a firm believer that sleep is always a good thing. Unless it’s 9 o’clock at night and my favorite show is on. Or the book I’m reading just got real good. Or I don’t feel like getting off the couch to change into my pajamas and would rather sit there and look at pinterest on my ipad. Whatever. I have room for improvement.
Sleep is necessary for our bodies to be happy and healthy. But we aren’t all super good at it or realize the value of it until the next morning. In order to improve we might all need to make a change or two. Here are my recommendations:
1) Set up a routine. I went on a 5 day road trip a few years ago and I learned the importance of winding myself down before bed. In the same way. Every night. I would get myself all ready for bed (teeth brushed, contacts out, face washed, pj’s on), then read my scriptures (which calmed my mind down), and wrote 5 things I was grateful for that day that I wanted to remember. It helped me relax and unwind and ultimately helped me sleep more peacefully. To me that says something when you’re sleeping in a different hotel every night.
2) Figure out what works for you. Do you like light in your room? get a night light. Or open your blinds. Do you need fresh air? Crack a window and grab an extra blanket in case things get shivery. Do you hate light? turn your phone over, put a blanket over your alarm clock display or any other electronic displays in the room. Shut your blinds or use blackout curtains. Do you hate noise? grab some earplugs that expand in your ear. If you don’t find the proper way that your body likes to sleep, you’ll never get the quality that you want. I sleep hot. I generally have to have the window open (unless it’s below freezing, then my room will be cold enough). Once I get a cool breeze on me I can sleep peacefully (summer is the WORST).
3) Make it a habit. This goes along with #1 but I’ll emphasize something different here. When it’s your bedtime, drop whatever it is you’re doing and go do your routine. Hopefully if you do this enough times you’ll stop doing really important or distracting things around your bedtime and the transition will get smoother. But you can’t start having a good sleep schedule until it becomes habitual.
4) Learn to how wake up properly. I’m a really bad example of this but there are some tricks I’ve heard of that might work for you. For example: write out your day the night before and make the most fun thing on your list the first thing you do. Another benefit of writing out your day is that you won’t get overly stressed throughout the day worrying about what you’re not doing. You already know what you’re supposed to do and have it in writing. This can make getting out of bed easier as well. Or start out your day with something gentle like reading in bed or doing yoga. This helps you wake up gradually instead of jolting you awake.
5) Exercise for better sleep. If you make your body tired through activity you’ll be so exhausted by the time bedtime rolls around you’ll be jonesing for your pillow. And chances are you’ll fall asleep faster, sleep deeper and feel more rejuvenated by your sleep for the next day. All wins in my book.
So here’s to setting up a sleep schedule that works for you and that helps you be a better human (ie. more productive, happy and less stressed).