Does it take you a long time to fall asleep at night? Maybe you fall asleep just fine, but find yourself wide awake at 2am, and end up on instagram or walking around your home. Do you wake up in the morning feeling exhausted?? If this sounds like you, please read on…
We are a society of over-doers and under-sleepers. We don’t value rest. We value busy-ness and sleep gets in the way of that!
Good quality sleep has been linked to so many great things:
- Better problem solving
- Quicker reaction time
- Better memory
- Good mood
- Better decision making
- Healthy weight (sleep affects our appetite and metabolism)
- Better relationship satisfaction
- Improved will-power
- And good sleep makes us more empathic!
Lack of sleep is linked to:
- Lower stress tolerance
- Higher pain sensitivity
- Poor coordination
- Poor memory
- Hormonal imbalances
- Difficulty learning
- Poor mood
- High blood pressure
- An accumulation of waste products in the brain
That’s a lot of reasons to get your sleep in order!
Pills or self-discipline?
There’s always the option of taking sleeping pills. And you could, but even though you may “sleep”, the quality of sleep that a pill induces is poor. It won’t enable you to heal and form memories. You’re likely to feel pretty foggy the next day. A pill is not going to fix the problem.
There are natural methods that you can employ to improve sleep, but it takes some self-discipline. Mostly, it’s about habit; it’s about routine. To get better quality sleep, you need to adapt some of your behaviours.
There’s a long list of behaviours you can choose to try:
- Wear an eye-mask
- Keep your mobile phone out of the bedroom
- Invest in some extra-comfy pillows
- Use black-out curtains
- Listen to sleep meditations
- Sleep naked
- Cut down on caffeine
- No alcohol after lunch time
- Regulate your sugar intake
- Dim the lights/only use candle light at night
- Get a good amount of natural light during the day
- No tv, computer, mobile or iPad (screens) before/in bed
- Drink camomile tea before bed
- Stick to a regular bed time
- Keep a gratitude practice
- Journal, to get the stress of the day off your mind before bed time
- Have a “bed-time ritual”
- Set a sleep alarm
- Use lavender aromatherapy
- Move more during the day
- Rest and play
How do I begin a new routine?
As you can see, that’s quite a long list of behaviours, and a bit too much to try all at once. Most people drop New Year’s resolutions after about 3-5 weeks because they set their goals too high. For this reason, if you want to improve your sleep and in turn, improve your quality of life, don’t expect yourself to follow all these tips. Choose to implement one or two of the behaviours mentioned above and try them for a week or two. Choose the habits that appeal to you the most – the ones that you think you’d enjoy introducing into your daily routine.
It’s useful to set a starting date. Perhaps instead of forcing yourself to begin today, commit to beginning some time next week or in a couple of days. Set a date and stick to it. Until then, enjoy your current way of doing things.
Make sure to speak to the people whose lives will be affected by your change in routine – your spouse or your children. Also, ask them to respect your routine. If they are interested, ask them if they’d like to join you in this new quest for more rejuvenating sleep.
I propose The Sleep Challenge:
I value self-improvement. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about working on boosting my concentration, creativity, productivity, immunity and pain tolerance. My quality of sleep has a big impact on all these factors. Ideally, adults should get 7 – 8 hours of good quality sleep. This means that their sleep is not disrupted or shallow. I don’t get that. I typically get a maximum of 5 hours of disrupted sleep.
I’ve made a commitment to improving my sleep. I began implementing new sleep behaviours two nights ago (Monday 17th October 2016). The habits I chose to begin with are the following:
- Keep a regular bedtime.
- Turn off all screens an hour before bedtime.
- Keep a gratitude practice when I get into bed.
- Listen to a sleep meditation in bed.
Depending on the results I see, I will probably add another sleep habit after two weeks.
Do you want to be the best version of yourself?
Changing habits and sticking to new routines is challenging. For this reason I’ve created a Facebook group called The Sleep Challenge to encourage us all to stick to our new sleep practice. I’d love for you to join this group and participate in the sleep challenge with me. This is a closed group where we can chat about sleep and how we are getting on with our new routines. I will share tips and information about sleep, and I will answer your questions. I will also write about the different sleep-inducing behaviours and why they’re helpful. The support of the group will help us all to stay motivated.
So what do you say? Would you like to make the commitment to be a better you?
To join the group, subscribe to A Life I Choose by entering your email address where it says “Follow Blog via Email” on the right side of the screen (or under this article if you’re reading this on your tablet or mobile). You will then receive an email from me inviting you to join The Sleep Challenge Facebook Group.
I’m looking forward to us sharing this challenge together and discussing the benefits of our improved wakeful lives 🙂