Why it may be time to change it.
For those who know me may find me talking on the importance of sleep somewhat of a joke… I’ve somehow managed on extreme minimums for so long that I almost felt like it was becoming worthy of some sort of ‘badge of honour.’
However here I go…
A good night’s sleep – it’s important, but do we really know why?
Most of us try our best to go to bed at a decent hour, ensuring we get the recommended 7-9 hours per night (for the record I’m now averaging 6 hours per night).
Whilst the length of sleep is important, quality of sleep is equally (if not more) important. Therefore. getting a good night’s sleep is about more than just going to bed at a decent hour. It’s about what you do before you go to sleep too.
What are you doing before you go to sleep and why might it be time to change it? Read more to find out.
Adopting a healthy bedtime routine
A large part of getting a good night’s sleep is what you do before you get to sleep, so adopting a healthy bedtime routine is crucial.
You need to adopt such a bedtime routine, that it ensures your evening is not stimulating or stressful. Why? Well, have you ever tried to fall asleep feeling highly stimulated or stressed? You likely found yourself tossing and turning for a very long time!
We all lead busy lives, which makes avoiding anything stimulating or stressful before bedtime somewhat difficult. We’ve compiled a list of tips to help.
Set a sleep schedule and stick to it
Do you go to bed at a different time every night? Not a great idea.
Why? Your body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm), plays a key role in regulating your sleep-wake cycle. To ensure your body can find its natural rhythm and settle into a regular sleep-wake cycle, you should try sticking to the same sleep schedule every night.
If you constantly change the time you fall asleep and wake up, your body becomes quite confused and won’t be able to adjust to a set schedule – you effectively throw off your body’s internal clock.
Ditch the alcohol or evening coffee
A couple of glasses of wine or a little nightcap may very well help you fall asleep, but research suggests that alcohol can make it harder to stay asleep. Have you noticed that you tend to wake up more during the night after a few drinks? That’s because your body is starting to metabolize the alcohol and this may cause you to become restless.
That’s not all either…Other studies have found that drinking before bed can suppress your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is extremely important for memory and concentration.
Where coffee is concerned, it’s best practice to only drink it in the morning. However, if you really need an afternoon caffeine hit, make sure it’s no later than 4 or 5pm.
Turn off the technology
We live in a world full of technology and rarely turn it off, but before bedtime, it’s about time we did.
Why? You know that blue light emitted by your computer, phone, or any other gadgets? Research suggests that it prevents your brain from releasing the hormone melatonin, which lets your body know it’s time to sleep.
Absolutely need your phone on for your alarm or emergencies? Switch it to ‘night’ or ‘do not disturb’ mode and turn it face down.
Declare the bedroom a ‘no work zone’
Like to work from bed some evenings or on particularly cold days? Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s time to stop it.
Your brain needs to associate your bedroom with sleep and rest and only that, otherwise, you may have a harder time falling asleep.
Keep a journal next to your bed
We’ve talked about journaling in the morning, but it shouldn’t be reserved for just then.
Bedtime journaling is a great ritual to get into too. It could be something as simple as writing down something you have to do the next day (so you don’t lie awake worrying about it), or writing down something you are grateful for from the day gone.
Whatever it may be, when you write something down, you give your brain permission to stop thinking about it, thus making it easier to get to sleep. It can make you feel good too.
How do you track the quality of your sleep?
I mentioned the importance of quality sleep, but how do you know if you’re getting it?
There are many different apps out there to help. Unless your device is somewhat attached to your body though, accuracy can prove difficult.
I recently purchased an Oura Ring and have found this to be a great sleep tracking device.
With daily feedback to improve your health, Oura helps you better understand your body and reach your goals. Oura guides you through an intelligent, data-driven plan to help you improve across the most important aspects of your well-being – for more than just a sleep tracking device.
A good night’s sleep is about more than just going to bed at a decent hour. It’s about what you do before you go to sleep too.
Start adopting your healthy bedtime routine for a good night’s sleep with these helpful tips.
Finding it hard to fit everything in and get a good night’s sleep too? A Perth High Performance Coach like me may be able to help.
With over 25 years’ experience in banking, finance and business, my depth of experience and understanding of human psyche, combined with a natural instinct to innovate, allow me to provide creative and highly effective strategies to help you achieve success.