The “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mentality is an ill-advised philosophy. I know you’re a hustler— a hard worker with a lot on your plate. Sleep is your sacrifice to get all the tasks done on your to-do list and make a living.
The problem is that you're burnt out and can't seem to function, right? The more you try to cram into your day, the higher your stress level and poorer your sleep gets.
Healthy habits like a bedtime routine and mindfulness meditation can help you relearn how to sleep better so you can function at your best again. We will have you getting back to some high-quality Zs in no time!
We all know that sleep is important, yet it is one of the first things we deprioritize when life gets busy.
Sleep is essential for every system in your body, and both your physical and mental health is impacted when you don’t sleep well or long enough.
Poor sleep can…
So, how can you kick butt in your career while balancing a social life and family when all of your functions are out of wack? You can’t! That's why prioritizing sleep is vital for your health and life.
Remember when you were a kid, and you had a whole routine to do before bed. Take a bath, get your pajamas on, brush your teeth, and listen to a bedtime story.
As you got older, you got more freedom… and subsequently started having more difficulty sleeping.
A bedtime routine is a powerful, healthy habit to help you sleep better. Starting your routine at the same time and each night will set you up for success. Over time your body begins to anticipate and prepare for sleep. Think of it as a form of muscle memory.
Finding the right routine for you may take some trial and error. Try combining some of the following techniques to build your ideal bedtime routine.
It’s easy to shrug off meditation. Your monkey mind is too busy, right? That’s one of the things that stop you from falling asleep after all.
All the more reason to train that brain of yours! Incorporating even a short mindfulness meditation into your bedtime routine can help make a huge impact on your sleep quality.
As you learn to control your running thoughts, you’ll strengthen your ability to shut down your brain to fall asleep. Just like lifting weights, you have to start small and easy to get yourself going and build up to the heavy stuff.
Meditation doesn’t have to be a heavy-duty spiritual meditation. It’s just a simple way to tune into the now and calm your mind. It can be as simple as taking several deep breaths, doing a 5-minute body scan, or listening to soothing sounds. My favorite is playing a recording of a crackling campfire on an hour-timer.
We all know movement is important, but did you know exercise can help you sleep? Not only does it help your conative function during the day and boost your energy, but it also gives your body something to recover from, which is a major function of sleep.
Exercise no later than 2 hours before bedtime to give your brain time to calm down after all those lovely endorphins kick in.
When you work a desk job, you are not only in front of screens most of the day, but you’re also sitting down most of the day. In addition to your desk job, you probably come home, watch some tv, and scroll through social media, right? That's A LOT of blue light.
Blue light is the type of light that tells our brain it’s time to be awake. When that blue light creeps into your night, it can affect your brain's ability to know it's time to get ready for bed.
One of the absolute best healthy habits to implement into your bedtime routine is eliminating screen time at least one hour before bed. This, in combination with the other calming activities, will help your brain know it's time to prepare for sleep.
Bonus points if you place your phone screen down (or away from your bedside) to remove the temptation to look at the screen during the night.
Reading is known to be a stress-reducing activity, making it an incredibly useful bedtime habit. Reading can help to distract you from the events of the day or minor obsessions that keep you awake.
If you spend more time than you’re willing to admit scrolling through social media before bed, try switching that time with some casual reading.
However, a really good book can be counterproductive when those cliffhangers make it hard to put down! Before you know it, it's 1 am, and you’re telling yourself, “just one more chapter.”
So be mindful of the book you choose and save those more stimulating reads for daytime.
Journaling is especially helpful when you are stressed, going through a big life event, or working through switching old habits for new healthy habits. It helps you process your thoughts, feelings, and events of the day, so you’re not stewing over them as you try to fall asleep.
When you write out your thoughts and feelings, it stops the broken record in your mind. Like you’re finally getting everything out. And if you’re the type of person that seems to have a perpetual repeating record that keeps you up at night, getting this out of your head and onto paper is life-changing.
Sleep is a time for recovery. Your body already has enough to do while you’re sleeping. Don’t add to it with a late meal or snack. Your body needs to divert energy to digestion, and depending on what you ate, it could cause spikes in blood sugar and stimulate your body or mind.
Also, while hydration is essential, try and prioritize it during the day so you don’t need to make frequent trips to the bathroom and disrupt your sleep cycle.
You can swap out parts of those routines with ones you like. Maybe you want to walk after dinner or ditch journaling for gentle stretching. Find activities that you enjoy and experiment with how much time you need to wind down.
The big key is consistency! Once you get into a routine at night, you'll want to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. This promotes regular circadian rhythms and gets you into a regular flow, making it easier to both fall asleep and wake up feeling rested.
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