The vast majority of today’s population knows better, but doesn’t do any better. Many of us sleep too short and too badly.
Here is another reminder that sleeping well increases your productivity and is therefore super useful. In addition to eating well, worrying little, and occasionally doing a lot of sports, a good night’s sleep is what strengthens the benefit of everything. On the other hand, if you have chronic sleep deprivation, you eat it from the inside. It causes stress, which can lead to anxiety, headaches and dizziness, depression, and high blood pressure with all its possible consequences.
Because sleep is vital for both your body and your mind, be sure that you’re getting enough sleep and if possible, get into deep sleep. Here’s how to do it.
1. Going to bed earlier
Yeah, it’s really a party pooper, but it works. Making a conscious choice to postpone things until tomorrow and structurally going to bed on time every night helps you get to sleep deeply. “The hours before noon count double.”
Especially limiting the fun things in the evening will put you for difficult choices in the beginning. But there is plenty of time to watch things on TV, phone or tablet. Your sleep doesn’t necessarily have to give way to that. You are not obliged to stick to Netflix or Instagram. You decide on what basis you take your entertainment. If you can’t leave your phone away from your bed, which would be a really good choice, this device can already help you these days with the ‘sleep mode’ and reminders.
2. Tight evening routine
A set routine to unwind in the evening teaches your body to go to sleep. This is the key to deep sleep. Make sure your brain activity decreases. So no shock effects, blue light, loud music, or physical exertion. Your body wants regularity and reacts positively to it. To do this, consciously, set an alarm at a fixed time in the evening and from that moment on, do the same thing every time. Because of the repetition, your body knows that it is almost time to sleep and so you sleep much faster. How your routine will look like is up to you. Find out what works and stick to it. Taking a shower, reading a chapter from a book, or some quiet music, it’s up to you.
3. A pitch-dark room
Like eliminating blue light in your evening routine to get to sleep, a dark room helps to stay asleep. When it’s really dark, your brain produces melatonin, and your body realizes it’s night. By keeping your room dark, production is maintained, and your body knows it can go to sleep. Blackout curtains are a step in the right direction. Most furniture stores have them, so that should not be an excuse. Most hotels have them as well. That’s why sometimes you can sleep easily and deeply.
4. Set the temperature appropriately
One more point regarding the sleeping environment. Heat is delicious and can make you dreamy, but does not give you the deep sleep you actually need. So a little bit chilly is actually what you want. Once you sleep, the body temperature drops, and that process goes faster in a fresh room. Your body senses the cold and therefore, it pulls you to sleep, so to speak, deeper sleep. If you can set the room temperature, then the correct temperature is 5 to 10 lower than the room temperature during the day. A simple check is if your sheets feel a little cold when you touch them.
5. Food and drink
Going to bed on an empty stomach and then going to sleep is almost impossible. So a small snack before bedtime is absolutely fine. What you don’t want to do is slip in another heavy meal. It will make your body start digesting and doing other things than resting. In short it will make you sleep less deeply.
To put a scoop on top of that: coffee and alcohol are the next two culprits. Drinking caffeine in the evening stimulates the body and destroys sleep, we know that, but alcohol actually does the same to the body. At first, alcohol makes you a little sleepy, but then it makes your body restless, making it unable to get the desired deep sleep. What alcohol does is that it evokes a so-called “alpha activity.” These patterns don’t typically occur during sleep, so they make your brain awake and alert. The result is that your day-night rhythm is disturbed and blocks your so-called REM sleep.
Where to start?
If you see even a few hours of sleep as an achievement, you must start understanding that it still isn’t enough. Assess your evening routine and incorporate any of the tips we’ve shared to help you have better —and longer— sleep at night.
Busy schedule getting in the way of proper sleep? Here’s a final tip: Add sleep to your calendar too! This way you, you can be sure you have enough time blocked off for sleeping without worrying that all your other appointments. A better sleeping environment and a good evening routine will really help you get a good night’s sleep.