Did you know you would die without sleep? A person can last about 10 days without sleep before dying, but things get really crazy long before that. You start hallucinating after just a couple days.
Contrast that with the fact that humans can go about three weeks without food. Sleep is when our bodies recharge, our muscles rebuild, and our minds reset. I kind of think of it like scheduled maintenance for the computer that is your brain. Without it your brain will not function to it’s highest potential.
Sleep is precious. It’s something we all probably need more of but with so many other things stealing our time it’s not something we place a high priority on. With a little planning and some better sleep hygiene we can make the best of the time we do sleep.
Just like Pavlov’s dogs we can become conditioned to going to sleep if the right conditions are met.
Setting a strict bedtime and sticking to it can really improve your sleep. The 1/2 hour leading up to bedtime should have a similar routine every night. It doesn’t matter what this routine is but it should be slowing your activity and letting your body and mind know that the time you’ve set aside for sleep is approaching.
Limit Screen Time
It’s is known that “blue light” the light that is emitted from most electronic devices (i.e. mobile phones, tablets, televisions etc.) interrupts the production of Melatonin, the bodies sleep-inducing hormone.
In a culture where our phones are practically an extra appendage it’s tough to turn off the electronic devices one hour before bed time but it might be worth it if your sleep is dramatically improved.
Making your room as dark as possible is also important for Melatonin production. This is more important if you’re going to bed when the sun hasn’t full set but could benefit everyone.
Our bodies internal clock responds to the cues given by the light outside. If it’s darker our bodies begin to slow down for sleeping. We can help our bodies along by darkening our homes before bed and making our bedrooms as dark as possible. Just don’t stub your toe when you get up in the middle of the night.
Another tip regarding your phone. If you don’t use your phone as an alarm then don’t bring it into the bedroom. You never know when you’ll get a phone call from a wrong number or a drunk text from your old college roommate. All those apps on your phone probably have notifications to send all times of the night as well. Better to leave all that out of the room so you can sleep distraction free.
If you do use your phone as an alarm be sure to use a Do Not Disturb feature so that any notifications or messages don’t make a sound or make the screen light up.
We can’t make more hours for you to sleep but hopefully with these tips you can make the best use of the time you have available. Maybe with some increase in the quantity and quality of your sleep you’ll be more effective in your waking hours thus freeing up more time for sleep.
Now go live better.