For the last few weeks I have been exhausted. Scrap that. The whole month of July I have been exhausted. It’s no secret to those who know me that I don’t sleep well (sorry guys, I know I’m grumpy when I don’t sleep!) With a lack of sleep comes a lack of energy and a lack of productivity. Also, in my case, an increased chance of more “low points”. I’m slowly learning, mainly through trial and error, how to sleep better.
I know what you’re thinking…“No shit Sherlock”! But it’s really important for your energy and productivity levels to get enough sleep. The recommended is between 7 and 9 hours but everyone is different. Through trial and error, I’ve learnt that I actually function best on 6 hours sleep. If you’re not getting enough sleep you’ll be hitting that snooze button 4 or 5 times every single morning. Then you’ll feel groggy and unproductive for the rest of the day. Find whatever works best for you and stick to it. Just make sure you’re sleeping as long as you need to.
Stick to a Schedule
Once you’ve found what amount of sleep works best for you, stick to it. Even on weekends. The myth of catching up on sleep on the weekend doesn’t work – well it does and it doesn’t. Sure, you’ll feel better on the weekend but it will actually make it even harder to wake up on time on the Monday morning.
As well as sticking to the number of hours, try to create a routine where you go to sleep and wake up at the same times each day. It will help you loads as your body will get used to your “bed time” and “wake-up time”.
Part of creating a schedule for yourself also stretches out to creating a pre-sleep routine. It might just be something as simple as reading for half an hour each night before bed. Or doing yoga. Or meditating. Whatever works for you, which leads nicely on to…
For me it’s ASMR videos on YouTube. I only came across these a few months ago after reading this awesome post from Dorkface about ASMR – something I didn’t even know existed before. I know for other people, it’s listening to music or just lighting some candles and clearing your mind. Whatever it is that relaxes you, make sure you climb into bed early enough to give yourself some time before you go to sleep.
On a side note, if your way of relaxing involves listening to something, I would highly recommend investing in one of these music pillows*. I love mine so much and it takes away that awkwardness of falling asleep with headphones in and waking up in the middle of the night because your ears hurt and the cable is wrapped around your neck!
Keep Your Bedroom Sacred
Keep your bedroom free from stress – don’t have anything in there that you don’t need. That means no laptops, no work, no TV…the bedroom is for two things: sleeping and that other thing. Keep it that way.
Associating your bedroom with being relaxed, sleeping and nothing else will help you fall asleep easier. It’s so tempting to stay up late if there’s other distractions in the room. So keep your room free from distractions and stress. You’ll be amazed at home much of a difference it makes.
You all know by now that I’m a big advocate of exercise to help you with lots of things. One of the most obvious things exercise will do is wear you out. So make sure you’re getting out there and burning off some of that excess energy.
Working out also helps clear my mind a little and is an excellent way of getting rid of the frustrations and tensions that have built up throughout the day.
One thing to be careful of though is working out too close to bed time. Exercise gives me a rush which makes it super hard for me to fall asleep if I don’t have enough “wind down” time after.
You don’t want to go to bed hungry but you also don’t want to try to sleep on a full stomach.
Make sure you eat well in advance of your bed time and try to stick to lighter, easier to digest foods. Also, and this probably goes without saying, try to steer clear of caffeine. My aim is to limit my caffeine intake to the mornings only but it’s just so difficult to be caffeine free alllll afternoon and evening.
These are all things that help me to sleep better and feel more energised the next day but remember that everyone is different and what works for me might not work for you. Experiment a bit and, when you find something that works for you, stick with it.
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