I hit the snooze button way too often.
Last week I’m pretty sure my average times for resetting my alarm to a later time was six. Each morning I would wake up SIX times to reset my alarm, just to get five more minutes of sleep each time. That’s insane!
Sleep is important. Obviously. I think we all know that. But so many adults these days don’t get enough quality sleep.
According to the CDC, 30 percent of adults reported getting less than or equal to 6 hours of sleep per day between 2005-2007.
The CDC also states insufficient sleep is related to chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity.
But with the crazy busy go-go-go lives that most of us lead, it’s hard to get that required 7-8 hours every night.
Why is it so hard? Our brains are stimulated so much by our daily lives and what we need to get done that it’s nearly impossible for us to shut everything down in a timely manner to actually fall asleep, stay there, and feel well rested enough to wake up on time.
Recently, I’ve made a few small changes that have greatly helped me gain control of my sleeping patterns. As a result, I find I’m way more productive, alert and willing to take on the day.
1. No phones allowed
Once you turn off the main light in your bedroom, do the same with your ever-connected-to-the-web device that I know sits right by your pillow. The blue light from your phone stimulates your brain so you can’t actually fall asleep in a timely manner. If I’m laying in bed and my phone goes off and I “need” to check it, I turn on the lamp that sits next to my bed so I’m not over-stimulated by the bright light of my phone that is directly in my face.
2. Open your shades at night.
I’m guessing you go to sleep when it’s dark outside, right? Like most normal humans. So, when you go to bed, leave your curtains open. I’ve found the more gentle light of the sun (our bedroom faces west, FYI) helps me wake up easier and, more importantly, in-between REM cycles. If I’m in a deep sleep, the sun usually won’t wake me up, but during my light sleep, it does.
3. No caffeine right before bed
I think that’s a given, right? Do I need to explain this? Nah, I think you got it.
4. Make a to-do list
Chances are one of the things that blocks you from going to sleep quickly is the list of things running through your head that you need to get done the next day. So, spend 10 minutes right before bed (with the light on) to make your to-do list for the next day. I try to do this, but it doesn’t always happen. The important part, though, is that you TRY.
I use an app called SplenDO (Android). But tons of people I know swear by Google Keep. If you’re struggling figuring out how to make a killer to-do list that will keep you organized, I would recommend diving into this free 30-day challenge by Chalene Johnson. I’m about half way through it and it has helped me immensely to get organized in a lot of aspects of my life. Although, I will always be a work-in-progress with organization.
5. Establish a night-time ritual
Write a few things down that you always have to do before you go to sleep – brush your teeth, take a shower (if you take showers in the PM), get tomorrow’s outfit ready (if you do this every night, you are my hero), write your to-do list, etc. – and DO IT every. single. night. until it becomes a habit. It might take a while for it to stick, but the ritual will help bring your mind some calmness and let it shut off in those few minutes that you’re doing all of these activities.
Now, get off the internet and start implementing some (or all) of these things into your life! Happy sleeping.