After all this reflecting, habit-making and to-do lists, it’s time to talk about resting up to do all this stuff. Sleep is the best. The best. I love it so much. What’s crazy is that in a world of instagram, pinterest, facebook, netflix, hulu and other amazing things on the world wide web, we’re having a really hard time with sleep procrastination. I know, you’re like, wtf, procrastination is for work, but it’s also for stopping the deep facebook stalking to count some sheep.
I thought I’d spend this time writing about how important sleep is, but, I mean, you know sleep is amazing already, right? Of course you do, it’s the best! So instead, let’s focus on some things you can do if you’re having trouble with this sleep concept. It’s going to be great!
Here are some tips from some experts (the internet says so) for ways to help you get more / better sleep. Also, Huffington Post just wrote 8 Ways Sleep Benefits Your Life, According to Science – so check that out if you’re still living in the realm of people who don’t believe in sleep. Who are those people?
Okay! Some things!
- Going to Sleep: set a regular bedtime. That sounds hard, right? One trick is to set reminders in your phone. It’s an easy way when you’re having a blast to have that little nudge you used to get from your mom that says, hey, start winding down! Mine is scheduled earlier than I actually want to sleep so I can snooze on that and keep looking at puppies.
- Waking Up: get up the same time every day. It’ll help. F’real. Even on the days that you’re like holy smokes, it’s so early, what am I doing? Guess what! Now is the time to continue that instagram trail of who are you even looking at now. There’s a lot research around the harm from snoozing, so try getting up at the same time everyday for a bit. Your body will get used to it. Don’t want to get up? My secret trick is to wriggle my toes and fingers and wake up slowly rather than smack snooze.
- Limit Light Confusion: light during the day, darkness at night! During the day get some sun in your face. The best option is to eat breakfast or drink your morning coffee in direct sunlight to get your eyes adjusted to daytime. Sit near a sunny window! At night, shut down all those lights to ease yourself into snooze-town. I’m talking computers, ipads, phones all of that stuff. Even better? Leave it out of the bedroom. If you live in a studio (NYC!), put them somewhere far away from your bed so it’s practically a different room. Or, install f.lux onto your devices to help you get ready to slow down into zzz-zone. Books. Books are really good.
- Drinking: slow down alcohol, caffeine, all liquids really, near bedtime. For caffeine, try to stop that by 3pm each day – caffeine needs time to get out of your system (6 hours!) Alcohol can give you bad sleep so avoid it near bedtime. Water or other liquids may make you wake up at all hours to use the bathroom.
- Zen Out: get out of your head. Let’s call this “constructive worry time”. Make sure you’re managing your stress and allowing yourself to set aside times to worry that aren’t while you’re under the covers. It could be journaling, therapy, meditation, chatting with friends – whatever works. And when it comes to sleep-time, get your brain in sleep-mode rather than focusing on work tomorrow.
- Take Notes: if your brain is active, sit up, write it down and deal with it in the morning. Middle of the night is not the time to deal with an unsent email. You can also try writing to-do lists before you hop into bed to get it out of your brain space.
- Work It: working out will help you get some better rest. Rumor has it, working out in the morning is the best, and you should actually avoid working out too close to bedtime as it could keep you a little too amped up.
- Sleep Ritual: by following a general schedule, not only will your face be super ready to hit that pillow, your body will also start to shut down when it realizes it’s sleep time.
- No Distractions: get rid of distractions. Weird noises = noise machine. Lights = block ‘em. Furry friends = give them a different bed. That one makes me the saddest, but consider your health!
- Sleep Sanctuary: make bed your sleepy sanctuary. Make sure the mattress is comfortable, the pillow feels right, the room is cool and those sheets are just delicious to your toes.
- Naps: be wary, they can mess up your sleep schedule – less than an hour before 3pm shouldn’t throw you off too much, but anything else could confuse your whole body!
- Sleep amounts: we all need different amounts of sleep, and this is more of a trial and error situation. Some people need 7, some people need 9 – but no one really needs 12 (sorry to my teenage self…). Try tracking your sleep to get a feel for what works for you – i.e. one week at 7 hours, another at 8, and keep track of what you’re feeling better with.
Hopefully some of this stuff helps – it’s a lot here, but I believe that we can all be sleeping. More. If nothing is working for you, think about talking to your doctor about other things to try.
Sleep is the best! Let’s have more great sleep!
my girl elissa who worked at a sleep center doing behavioral medicine for sleep disorders