Improve your sleeping habits

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This sample from Rebecca Liverson's book, Level Up Your Day, deals with the importance of a good nights sleep and provides useful tips on how to maximise your resting time. Insufficient sleep can lead to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. It can also impact your immune system, which of course means you’ll be more likely to get sick.

The bottom line is that if you want to be more productive, eat better and achieve your goals, then you need to focus on getting an adequate amount of sleep.

Here are a few tips to help you get a good nights sleep

#1: Keep a regular sleeping schedule

One reason routines are effective is that they turn the changes you want to make into natural, automatic actions. People who routinely sleep at the same time find it much easier to get a full night’s rest. Simply put, they get enough sleep because they’ve trained themselves to do so.

You may have to experiment a bit to find your optimal sleep cycle. This is especially true if you have a lot of freedom with your schedule (if you’re self-employed, for example). If you have a job or morning responsibilities such as getting children to school, the time you get up each day is largely dictated by outside forces.

To improve your sleep routine, determine a set time to go to bed each night and a set time to get up each morning, and then do so consistently—even on weekends.

#2: Cut the caffeine

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying caffeinated drinks (like coffee or tea), but you should stop drinking them well before the end of the day. Many people find that caffeine consumed after early afternoon causes problems when it’s time to go to bed. At the very least, don’t drink any caffeinated beverages after dinner.

#3: Eat foods that enhance sleep

While you should avoid caffeine and other stimulants later in the day, you can benefit from consuming food and beverages that enhance sleep.

It’s long been known that people want to take a nap after eating Thanksgiving dinner because turkey contains tryptophan, an amino acid that induces sleep.  Chamomile tea and a hot cup of milk are known insomnia-fighting beverages.  Lesser-known sleep-inducing foods include bananas, potatoes, oatmeal and whole-wheat bread.

#4: Block out noise

Noise is one factor that can keep you awake at night. This is particularly true if you live on a busy street or near a train station, or if you have family members or neighbors who are up and about when you’re trying to sleep.You can block out noise by using earplugs or adding white noise.

#5: Shut off electronics at least an hour before bed

Being on the computer, watching TV and playing video games can stimulate your mind to such a degree that it can be hard to go to sleep.

Try unplugging 60 minutes before bedtime. Spend that time completing a bedtime routine that includes things like putting on pajamas, brushing your teeth and reading.

#6: Block out light

The full-spectrum light emitted by computers and smartphones can keep you awake at night if you’re exposed to these devices late in the day.  If you can’t seem to kick the habit of being on the computer at night, try installing f.lux on your machine. As the evening wears on, f.lux reduces the amount of blue and green light coming from your computer screen to help you wind down in the evening.

You can also block out light by hanging blackout curtains or using a sleep mask.

#7: Make your bed comfortable and inviting

Invest in a good mattress, pillows and linens. Wash your linens regularly. It’s easier to get to sleep if you crawl into a nicely made bed instead of one that is a rumpled mess, so make your bed every day.  Rebecca has a friend who is terrible about making her bed first thing in the morning. She actually takes time to make the bed before she goes to sleep because it’s so much more comfortable to get into a bed that is already made.

#8: Think happy thoughts

Think of positive things as you’re drifting off to sleep. You can picture yourself in relaxing scenes such as walking on the beach or getting a massage. If you’re spiritually inclined, spend some time praying and letting go of your concerns.

Since sleep impacts every aspect of your life, it’s important to make this a top priority as you develop your daily routines.

#9: Keep a sleep log

A sleep log can help you identify patterns between other aspects of your life and how well you sleep. For example, you may notice that when you eat certain foods or do certain activities in the evening, you sleep better (or worse).  You can keep track on a spreadsheet, use a Sleep Chart or a freeware computer program, or simply use pen and paper. If you want to go really high-tech, try a sleep-tracking watch.

A Good Sleeping Habit

As you can see, there are many ways to get a full night’s sleep. Most of them involve planning out the final hours of your day. Ideally, you want to spend this time unwinding and relaxing. In fact, we recommend creating a nighttime schedule (with preset times) with certain tasks to help you get ready for sleep.

Most of us use alarm clocks to wake up in the morning, so there’s nothing wrong with using a reminder to know when it’s time to go to bed. 

Click here for the full article from the book Level Up Your Day



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