Do you wish you would have enough sleep and still have enough time to accomplish your to-do list? I always tend to feel like I have less than 24 hours in a day. I mean, compared to the C.E.O’s who are doing much more, how is it that I can’t get enough sleep? I learned the trick to sleep well and that is what I want to share with you. It is not about how long you sleep but how well you sleep. Simply, sleep optimization.
Tired minds don’t plan well. Sleep first, plan later. ~ Walter Reisch
Sleep is very important. It is recommended that we get about 6 to 7 hours of sleep for adults. I prefer 7 hours for maximum productivity. However, for you to sleep well, you have to find what suits you. It also prompts you to try various things to see what works best for you. If you struggle with finding deep sleep, taking long to sleep and not feeling refreshed after you wake up; this is for you.
You do not need to sleep for 10 hours or a whole day for you to feel productive. Also, you do not need to sleep for more hours for you to wake up not feeling sleepy. At the end of this post, there is a downloadable do’s and don’ts that summarizes all the sleep well tips.
Why do we need sleep?
We just found ourselves sleeping because that is how nature intended. There is a lot of History and Science involved in answering this question but the conclusion is that sleep is necessary for the body to function well. Lack of sleep can cause serious health problems hence, if you are the kind of person who sacrifices sleep, I suggest you find a better way to manage your time.
However, there are people who sleep for fewer hours but still function well. What is their secret? The C.E.Os, the pilots, the doctors, parents with new borns, tech guys, night shift workers and everyone who has a crazy schedule; how do they remain productive?
They have learned the art of finding quality sleep whenever possible. Most of them have found a sleeping schedule that works best for them and whenever they sleep, they sleep well. In addition, they have found a way to balance their life by creating routines. Likewise, there are a lot of
What are the benefits of
According to News in Health, both physical and mental health are affected by sleep. Furthermore, deep sleep and sleeping
1. Healthy heart
In some scientific way that I do not want to really focus on, sleep helps reduce the risk of getting a heart attack and stroke. Cases of heart attacks and stroke have been linked to lack of enough sleep. Therefore, if you want to have a strong healthy heart it is best to invest in some deep sleep – not using drugs of course (unless recommended)!
2. Hormones & Immune system
All mothers know that their little toddlers grow when sleeping. Week old babies sleep for almost 19 hours and you see how rapidly they grow. That is enough evidence that sleep affects hormones eg. growth hormone. As an adult, growth is for your cells and other internal organ that we may not see but need to grow.
3. Reduces stress
If you are like me who sleeps when stressed, then you know that sleep plays a role in reducing stress levels. There is just some therapy that comes with sleep as opposed to indulging in
4. Improves productivity
When you wake up after having a restful night, you feel rejuvenated and ready to start a new day. You are more alert, do things on time and manage to do more in less time. This is because your brain had enough time to take a break from the noisy world.
5. Improves memory
When you give your brain cells enough time to rest and rebuild, they will reward you accordingly and abundantly. A tired body just wants to shutdown or operate like a zombie.
6. Enhances creativity
Once again, you will be rewarded for sleeping well. I am sure you have heard people say, ‘Let me sleep on it, I will get back tomorrow’. This is so true! The best and most creative ideas come when you sleep. Whenever I am stuck on a project, after a good night sleep, I will get better ideas and clues. Most of the creatives love sleep.
7. Reduces depression
As I mentioned earlier, sleep is therapeutic. If anything is giving you a hard time, just take some time off and relax your mind by sleeping. Whenever I run out of energy and motivation, I make sure I have deep sleep. To do this, I do away with the morning alarm and allow myself to sleep until I naturally wake up. When you sleep well, you will reduce the risk of being depressed.
8. Body repair
Your body knows it is time to repair when you sleep. Your skin is clearer and bright in the morning. You feel refreshed because all those broken areas were repaired.
The main reason we even sleep well is to rest. We are not meant to operate for 24 hours, 7 days a week, all year round. That is why we made machines! Digressing, you only get to really rest when you sleep and sleep well.
What are the health issues associated with insufficient sleep?
CDC notes that lack of enough sleep leads to high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes (type 2). All these are not things we want in life if we can avoid them. Therefore, take note that it is about time to start sleeping well and getting good quality sleep.
How to Sleep Well
I find my mornings much better when I have had enough sleep. Yes I know there is nothing like enough sleep but I think 7 hours are enough. With this, I end up having a productive and energetic day. Moreover, I get to do everything in my morning routine which makes me so happy. I also get enough time to read a book or watch Netflix, chat online and accomplish my to do list that never ends.
Honestly, I have tried plenty of tips and hacks to sleep well that I will share below and all of them work for me and for a majority of people. I invite you to try each of them and eliminate what does not work for you or what you think is unnecessary. Are you ready?
Sleep Well Tips
1. Regular sleep patterns
It is highly recommended that you sleep and wake up at the same time every day including weekends. I admit that this can be hard because sometimes you feel tired and need to sleep and other times you have so much to do that you need just one more hour into the night to catch up.
Giving this a try would be the best you can do for yourself to sleep better. You can sleep at midnight and wake up at 7 am it is fine or sleep at 9 pm (like me) and be up at 4.00 am. It all depends on how you function best.
If this option cannot work for you because of your crazy schedules or profession there is plenty for you too. Moreover, if you cannot afford 7 hours consecutively, make sure to sleep well for the hours you can.
2. Avoid caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant hence it is supposed to keep you awake and active. If you struggle to sleep well, think about reducing your caffeine intake. In line with this, take your caffeine before
This will make it easier for you to fall asleep and catch some deep sleep. It will be hard at first to resist the urge to take coffee or tea after 2pm however, you will reap the benefits in plenty.
If you take time a long time before you sleep, I highly recommend that you start by practicing this.
I prefer to work out in the morning as it gives me the energy to run my day. Of course, sometimes I get pretty lazy and I do notice the difference in my energy levels. Starting your day with high energy levels gives you enthusiasm and you are able to accomplish more as well as stay active. When you are active all day, you will definitely feel tired and sleepy at the end of the day
I find that if I have a heavy workout session in the evening, I tend to feel the urge to sleep longer than normal, hence, I prefer stretching in the evening. Once in a while, I fix some stretches in my evening routine. Whenever I do this, I enjoy a good night sleep and wake up every motivated the next day.
Stretching helps your body and muscles to relax. You get a higher supply of oxygen which is good for your body and will help you sleep well and sleep better naturally.
Here are 7 stretches you should be doing daily.
4. Eat healthy foods
By healthy here I mean that you should cut off on carbs and sugary food just before bedtime. Some will argue that carbs will make you sleepy but it is unhealthy because most of it is converted to fat and stored in your body. That is not what we are trying to do.
Sugary foods on the other hand make you hyper active which will only make it harder for you to sleep. Hence the reason to avoid them. In addition, avoid too much alcohol! It really messes your sleep pattern. You may not know it or see it happening but it interferes with your ability to catch some deep sleep.
What do you do first thing when you wake up? I also never knew but you are supposed to take a warm glass of water. As soon as I knew it and made it a habit I have come to appreciate it. We wake up dehydrated and that is why we take tea or coffee but before that, take water first.
During the day ensure you stay hydrated. One of the ways I ensure that I am hydrated is to keep my water bottle full and next to me always. Each time I see it, I feel the need to take water and just drink.
When you sleep, the body does not shut down. Some processes still happen and they need water. For you to get the full benefits of deep sleep, hydration is necessary.
However, drinking too much water before bedtime could interrupt our sleep at night. Be careful of the quantity you take two hours before you sleep.
6. Comfortable temperature
Cool tempreatures are recommended. Your room should not be too cold or too hot. Either will make you uncomfortable at night prompting you to wake up in the middle of your sleep which in turn ruins your deep sleep.
7. Listen to meditation music
This one is for those who take long before they sleep or who struggle to find sleep. There is plenty of meditation music on youtube and you can listen to that as your lullaby. It works. When I tried it, 20 minutes did not end before I found myself dozing off.
The best part is that these days YouTube is smart. All you need is to state after how many hours of inactivity does it need to stop playing and there will be no need to wake up to stop the music. Just ensure the device is safe such that it doesn’t fall at night.
8. Read a book
Also for those who struggle to catch sleep when its bedtime. Thirty minutes before bedtime, pick a book and start to read. This is a good way to reduce the time you take before you sleep. There are two benefits: you gain knowledge and you take a shorter time to sleep.
9. Bedroom environment
Avoid bright light in the evening and have dark curtains that limit light from outside. If possible, ensure there are very minimal outside noises. If doing this is difficult try using ear muffs and sleep masks.
10. Get ‘sunkissed’
The experts say that getting some sunlight every day will improve your sleep. Why don’t you try and tell me how that goes?
For me, so far so good.
11. Reduce screen time – especially blue light
That light that comes from these devices is harmful to sleep. It just makes you want to stay up and keep watching whatever it is. What I have found helpful is the blue light filter on my phone that automatically goes on at 7pm. Even though I use my phone a few minutes to bedtime ot does really affect my sleep pattern. However, it is not recommended to use your phone or computer a few minutes before bedtime.
12. Stay active
Try to do as much as possible during the day. Accomplish as much as possible because this will make your tired and leave you feeling like you need some rest.
As soon it is evening and avoid anything that will stimulate you or keep you awake, you will be feeling very sleepy.
Avoid sleeping for more hours and plan your day.
If you sleep for too long, you will wake up very exhausted and most likely you will a very unproductive day. This will lead you to feeling like you need to catch up in the evening which will interrupt your sleep pattern. If you have a consistent sleeping and waking up time, you will find yourself waking up before the alarm goes off. Which is the best feeling!
Take some time before the day ends to plan for your next day. This will help you remain productive the whole day and since you have allocated time for the most important things, there will be no need to sacrifice your sleep. Always stick to your plan no matter how hard it is.
We all want to be successful, right? As I was listening to a particular podcast, I heard that successful people nap for 20 minutes in the afternoon from around 1pm to 2pm not earlier or later. I don’t know if I’m alone but I do not know how to nap. It is either I sleep for 2 hours or I don’t sleep at all.
I therefore decided to give it a try. I failed a couple of times before I got the hang of it. The trick is to nap at the same time every day for only 20 minutes. As soon as the alarm goes off, even if you feel sleepy just wake up.
I didn’t manage to sleep for the first week but after that it became routine. The whole idea is that the nap helps you refresh meaning you have a productive afternoon and it does not affect your sleeping pattern.
Here is a list of successful people who nap. You need to try napping especially if you have very crazy schedules.
I believe that these tips and hacks will greatly improve your sleep. Keep trying until you get what is best for you. We are all different and our bodies also have different ways of functioning. I would be delighted to know what has worked for you and also what hasn’t worked out.
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