I’m obsessed with sleep, I’m obsessed with getting a good night’s sleep. This obsession means I’m improving my sleep hygiene and giving you all a first hand account of what makes my sleep better.
After I wrote Pillow Talk: Maximise Your Sleep I took some of my own advice and put it into practice. Since that post, according to my sleep journal I only had one day where I woke up feeling absolutely terrible. Most days I went to bed instead of fell asleep and most days I woke up refreshed.
So what did I do?
I made very small changes.
I developed a night time routine.
Before, I used to be in bed and fall asleep whenever I couldn’t get my eyes to stay open any longer. Usually I’d be spending my time on my phone scrolling through social media (aka Twitter) until I couldn’t anymore. This was an issue… remember I spoke about cortisol and melatonin in the last post? The constant bright light of my cellphone makes restful sleep more difficult to attain simple because of the drive to push cortisol production.
Now, I make the decision to go to bed. I brush my teeth, wash my face and put on my head scarf. I turn on my bedside lamp, put away my phone and journal before bed. I then turn off my bedside lamp and have my room in complete darkness. This puts me in the frame of mind for sleep, and I am more relaxed and find that I fall asleep more quickly now.
I go to bed earlier and wake up earlier.
In general I’m a ‘go to bed early’ kind of person but since late I’ve been letting 12am and even 1 am reach me being awake. Now I try my best to be in bed by 10pm and aim to wake up by 6. Waking up earlier than I need to allows me to reflect and relax before I need to get ready. That makes me start my day on a slow, soft tone and I don’t end up leaving the house rushed and anxious.
I changed up how I used my alarm.
Because I go to bed earlier I end up waking up before my alarm. Now I use my alarm as a guide for when I need to get up and start doing work. When my alarm is in charge of waking me I use one that doesn’t startle me out of bed but gently wakes me up from sleep by getting progressively louder. Now, instead of trying to catch extra minutes of sleep I put the alarms 5 – 10 minutes apart so that I don’t start a new sleep cycle and wake up groggy and tired.
I don’t start new sleep cycles.
We sleep in cycles. Most mornings I wake up naturally and before I would tell myself I have an hour or two before I need to really be up, go back to sleep but end up feeling tired and unrefreshed when I wake up back again. I am convinced it’s because I started a new sleep cycle and didn’t finish it (please don’t quote me I have some reading to do!). Now when I wake up, even if its at 3 am and I’m up I do something, whether relaxation techniques, reading or just reflecting on my day. Sometimes I can work for an hour or two and feel the need to go back to bed. I usually go back to bed then wake up again in a few hours and feel great. I’ve simply started to listen to my body and its need for sleep instead of looking at the time.
I changed how I napped.
When I was doing research for my post I read some information on napping. I read that for adults if we’re going to nap we should nap earlier and we should subtract our nap time from the amount of time we would usually sleep. What that means is if I sleep from 10 to 6 which is 8 hours and take a 2 hour nap in the day then I should sleep from 12 to 6 or 10 to 4 so that my total sleep time is 8 hours and not 10.
I have started doing this along with trying my best to nap as early as possible. I love naps and I love sleeping, but oversleeping can be just as bad as under sleeping!
I changed how I use my bedroom.
Honestly, before I would do everything in my bedroom. Sleep. Eat. Study. Now I just use it for sleep. Since I barred myself from making my bedroom a stressful place each time I come in I put myself in that frame of mind that my bedroom is not a place of anxiety and stress but a place for me to be comfortable, relaxed and rested. I did nothing different to my bedroom, I have the same decorations, layout and even mess! I simply changed my approach and mindset towards my bedroom.
Sleep is so important and I would like all of us to be able to sleep well and wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day! I’m tired of being tired in the day time which ruins my productivity. I want you all to take your sleep hygiene into your own hands and make sleep a priority now!
Be sure to post your comments and your questions below and let’s start the conversation on sleep!
Samantha C. Johnson