This is one of the resolutions posts. How do we get better sleep?
[ FUCK YOU , booes the tired crowd ]
Ok, ok, there are easier things than that but by practicing good hygiene you could get there.
But first, why is sleeping important?
The thing is that good sleep helps you with everything: concentration and focus at work. Recovery after exercise or disease. Less inflammation overall. Better mood. Memory. You name it, good sleep will improve it. Making it a priority this year, sleeping at least 8 hours a day ( of, if you are one of those lucky fellas that needs less, do that ! ) might change a lot by the time we hit 2018.
Here are a few tips from my experience and my research on this.
1. No screens one hour prior to sleeping
I'm serious. No phones in bed. No computer time before you go to sleep. NO TV. Screens seriously fuck up your sleep mechanism. Stay away.
Instead, try to read a book, meditate, think about sheep.
extra tip: For you computer and phone use "https://justgetflux.com/", this will change the lighting of your screens to match the hour and it will make you sleep better in the long run [ or at least fall asleep faster ]. For iPhone you can use the Night mode which essentially incorporates what f.lux does [ bastards! ]
2. Make your bedroom as dark as possible
The darker the better. There have been studies that show that we are very receptive to light. Imagine this: they made an experiment where they light up the back of the knee and the body reacted! So, don't just cover your eyes, try to actually sleep in the dark. What happens is that the darker it is, the more melatonine is produces. This is the natural go sleepy drug. You'll be zzzing before you know it.
3. Exercise or move during the day and take a warm shower
Your body might just not be exhausted enough. Any kind of exercise is great, even a short walk and it will help you fall asleep. One more thing: take a warm shower just before sleeping. It helps!
4. A great mattress is very important
This is the most expensive step and one that should be in the back of your mind if you are really not feeling rested even after a good night's sleep. There's a saying: "Always invest a lot in what separates you from the earth: shoes, mattresses, tires ". Very true!
A good mattress should be soft, have some memory foam and feel right. A test I heard of is to lie on the mattress and see if you can stay comfortably still for 5 minutes. If you don't, it's too hard. Do your research and don't skimp on this. It will be with you for 30 years!
These are the first lines of defense and should be really helpful if you do apply them. A few more things I noticed and heard other people notice too.
If you make your bedroom your "sleeping room" and sleeping room only it will be easier to fall asleep. That means, don't do anything in your bed but sleep ( and yes, sex is allowed :D ). The brain must go into: " Ok, so now we're sleeping" mood instantly. If you read in bed, watch movies in bed, EAT?! in bed the brain is confused. Confusion is not a good state for sleeping ;)
I said something about meditation but I want to say it again. Meditate before sleeping, 10 minutes even, is wonderful. I feel very grounded afterwards and calm ( if i had a good session ) and really help me sleep. But more than that,I do believe meditation has wide reaches in all areas of your life.
And lastly, try to always wake up at the same hour so you enter a more or less healthy rythm. It's difficult if you are a freelancer, or just party on weekends but it might help a lot to fall asleep at regular hours too. Hey, sleep >> party ( if you're over 30 :D )
I hope you found some of these helpful and please, tell me your experience and strategies for better sleep!
See you in the comments!