Consider the fact that, if you have never tried a few ways to improve your sleep habits and patterns than the repercussions of implementing just a few of these techniques could be significantly helpful.
Sleep enough hours
Out of all of the ways to improve your sleep, this is possibly the most arguable and difficult point. It is true that some people are happy and healthy sleeping just 6 hours or less per night. Although, for the majority of people, you need to sleep between 7 and 9 hours and for younger people (teenagers and children) they need more.
Now, you may have the question ‘how do I know the optimum number of hours I need to sleep?’. Good question. My answer is to take it day-by-day. Be mindful of your energy levels throughout the day. If you feel sluggish after 6-7 hours of sleep then try to sleep 1 more hour that night and then see how you feel the next day. Using this process, you can find your optimum number of sleeping hours.
Create a peaceful sleeping environment
Make your entire bedroom look and feel, like it should. Your place of rest and relaxation. Always assure that your bedroom is clean, tidy and preferably minimalist. In a way, you could think about your room as a reflection of your mind. When your mind is busy it is cloudy, messy and bogged down in complications and details. When your room is untidy it will reflect this and make your mind feel agitated. As a practical way to improve your sleep, try to get all the things off your floor, cut down on the number of things you own, make your bed every day, get a nightlight, keep it tidy.
Tip – It is also important that you only use your room for sleeping and relaxing. If you work in your room (even just homework) you will associate your room with stress and work and it will make it harder for you to fall sleep.
Maybe you have heard this before (your mum) but sleeping at the same time every night is very important. Everyone has a biological clock and it is not as flexible as you might want it to be. It can take over 1 week for your body to adjust to a new sleep schedule. If you don’t have a sleep schedule, your mental and physical well-being will be noticeably affected. So, make a sleep schedule that works for you and stick to it.
Have a ‘before-bedtime’ routine
It is common to only think about the physical/scientific aspect of getting good sleep but it is just as important to think about your mind. After a busy day doing whatever it is that you do, your mind is probably still wound up thinking about work or about tomorrow. Like dust falling to the ground, your mind needs time to settle down. Here are a few ideas you can try to help relax that busy mind of yours.
- Meditate for 10-15 minutes
- Do yoga
- Listen to relaxing music
- Read for 30 minutes
- Draw or colour in (use a mindfulness colour book)
- Write in a journal
Tip – As you will notice, all of these activities don’t involve using an electronic device. Using screens such as watching videos on your phone can make your brain think it is still daytime (from the light emitted from your device).
Don’t drink caffeine after lunch
Try not to drink caffeine at least 6 hours before you go to sleep. Caffeine has been proven to affect not only the quantity but also the quality of your sleep, as it can disrupt your important deep sleep time.