They say, “there’s no sunrise so beautiful that is worth waking me up to see it.” That’s because there’s nothing like a well-rested, good night’s sleep. Simply put, a good night’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet.
The human body needs a sleep of anywhere between 7 and 9 hours a day. That amounts to a third of our lives. If you’re not careful about your sleeping habits, your health is in trouble. According to various researches conducted, poor sleep causes weight gain and increases disease risk. Because with poor sleep, you tend to binge-eate every day.
The internet is filled with all sorts of weird tips on how to get proper sleep. Here we are with our collective pearls of wisdom to walk you through some of the top techniques to achieve a satisfying sleeping experience.
1. The candlelight dinner technique
Consider the candlelight dinner analogy for a minute. For a great candlelight light dinner, two things play a major role apart from the people: ambiance and food. For a great sleep too, what you consume and the place where you sleep place is highly important.
A lot of times, we forget that the bed is for sleeping. We take our laptops and mobile devices to the bed to watch Netflix or to work — sometimes we even binge eat on the bed while doing both. Optimizing your bed space and the surrounding environment is a real deal.
Make your bed cozy, choose proper pillows, and wear comfortable nightwear. Reduce the clutter around you, make the room as dark as possible, and use earplugs if needed. If the light is unavoidable, use blackout shades and curtains or an eye mask to try and block all the light in your room. Cooling your room is another proven and effective practiceto improve sleep and overall health. Put a pillow under your knees if required and focus on proper sleep positions.
Coming to food, it is not advisable to eat late in the evening. Drink plenty of water. Have your meals (especially meat) at least 3 to 4 hours before you hit the sack. This includes sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.
Also, remember to empty your bladder, and consider taking a soothing, lukewarm shower before tucking into bed.
2. The worry-list and mindfulness
Discipline is key if you want to get a good night’s sleep, every single night. So is mindfulness and exercise.
Practice meditation and yoga before bed. Stretching works well, too. But exercise in the evening and keep a margin of at least a couple of hours before bedtime. All these activities push your body closer to the need for resting.
Going to bed at a fixed time every night makes for a consistent sleep. Make sure you stick to your schedule and avoid irregular/long daytime naps.
Worrying is one of the major culprits that will interrupt with your sleep. It is highly recommended that you stick to the routine of relaxing and clearing your mind earlier in the evening. This can be done by journaling. One way is to list down accomplishments of the day and list down the tasks for tomorrow so that you keep things aside and free up your mind.
3. Ditch the tech
You and your bed might be perfect for each other, but your alarm clock keeps trying to break you two up. Keep it old school and hide your alarm clock. Keeping your alarm out of sight is a way to see one less thing that may create worry and anxiety. Sometimes you really need a vacation from your alarms and clocks.
Most of the time your alarm is your phone. Phones’ displays act as an alerting signal for your eyes and brain. As a precaution, you’ll also need to reduce your screen time around the end of the day — so that your eyes’ exposure to blue light is as minimal as possible.
Instead, unplug and read non-work related books.
4. Try to force yourself to stay awake
As counter-intuitive as it may sound, this technique actually works. You might have experienced this yourself―sometimes, even when you try hard, you may not slip into sleep easily. But when you’re trying to stay awake to study or work, you start feeling drowsy. That’s what is aimed at with this sleep restriction therapy. According to experts, you’ll initially feel irritated and may struggle to stay up, but ultimately attain the deep sleep of your dreams.
5. The classic 4-7-8 breathing technique
Scientifically proven, and a method rooted in yoga, the classic 4-7-8 technique aims at slowing your heart rate and calming your mind. Practicing this regularly could help you fall asleep in a shorter amount of time and maintain consistency in your sleep schedule. Here’s how to do it:
- Breathe in deeply through your nose for 4 seconds
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds
- Breathe out deeply from your mouth for 8 seconds
Repeat this 3 times before sleep.
Similar to meditation, the 4-7-8 technique requires the practice of a couple of months to perfect.
You should always say “morning” instead of “good morning” because if it was a good morning, you’d still be asleep. Kidding aside, exposing yourself to morning sunlight will help you get better sleep at night. This means you have to follow Benjamin Franklin’s mantra: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”. A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything. Stack the odds in the favor of a good night’s sleep and keep your sleep game strong.
Mostafa is a seasoned growth strategist with over nine years of experience in growing SaaS and eCommerce startups. He currently heads growth at Somn, a sleep community, and eCommerce startup.