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Here’s the situation:
You’re tired all day — from when you first wake up, clocking out of work, to when you finally settle down at home — fantasizing about being back in bed has been on your mind from the beginning.
Yet, once you finally return to your beloved bed… Nothing.
Why does this happen? How can we finally get the sleep that we deserve?
Some of these are hard to implement, and you might be hesitant to give up some of your old habits.
However, keep in mind that these healthy habits are an investment to your energy and productivity for your next day.
That being said, let’s go over the “must do’s” of sleep, and why they’re so darn important to passing out.
1. Limit Screen Time Before Bed
Using our phones or watching TV is one of the biggest mistakes we can make before heading to bed, especially if you’re doing this in bed (more on that later).
There are a few reasons to avoid screens before bed, let’s get into a few:
1. Watching videos, movies, or scrolling through social media, stimulates our brains, which wakes us up and keeps us awake. This kicks our brain into gear of alertness, keeping us awake for longer.
2. Blue light (which is almost primarily used by phones) strains our eyes and leaves imprints on our vision up to hours after the use of a phone. This is partially avoidable by activating a blue light filter in a phone’s settings (a feature on most smartphones), but even this filter can’t cut out all blue light.
3. Lastly — and possibly most importantly — screen time at night literally tricks our primal brain into thinking that it’s day time. Our animal brain expects any light to come from the sun, meaning that it’s day time. Day time used to be our opportunity to hunt and gather
resources, so our brain releases serotonin (opposite of melatonin), which is a chemical that wakes us up!
So, long story short, light (artificial or not) wakes us up to our primal core.
The best way to avoid keeping us in a state of alertness and straining our eyes at night is to cut screentime at least an hour before bed (ideally 2 hours, though).
Setting alarms should be the only thing you’re doing when trying to wind down for bed. This can be an especially difficult habit to enforce, but I promise that it will pay off.
2. Don’t Stay in Bed When You Can’t Sleep
It has been proven that your body and brain associate different places for different things.
For example, if you only use your dining table to eat, your mind and body will connect that table with eating. If you only use your desk for working, your brain will associate that space for work and productivity.
On the other side of the coin, your brain will also associate negative activities with particular places, depending on which actions you mostly do in that space.
So, if you spend an hour every night watching YouTube, eating snacks, and playing games, then you will subconsciously associate your bed with these unproductive activities.
Even if you aren’t necessarily doing anything — rather than staring at the ceiling if your mind is restless — get out of bed and sit at the table, or sit on the floor and try to rest your brain outside of your sleeping environment.
3. Get a More Comfortable Bed
This one may seem obvious, but it is one of the most critical aspects of sleep that we could talk about.
Most people don’t even realize how uncomfortable their bed is until they start looking around for alternative surfaces to snooze on.
If you usually wake up with pain in your back or neck, check out a local mattress store!
I’ve had a really good experience with Avocado Mattresses; they have a stable balance between soft and firm.
A well put-together frame is also essential for comfortability and mattress longevity.
4. Lower Your Core Body Temperature
Lowering the temperature of our bodies has been shown to help us sleep.
Everyone has had that night that they took a shower or bath and got toasty before entering their mini-coma for the night.
Most would think that this came from the heat of the water, but in reality, the amazing sleep that you experienced was from cooling down after your soak-of-choice.
This is actually a bit of a sleep hack, and it’s one that most people haven’t heard of.
Sleep is your superpower | Matt Walker
In a study, participants (mostly made up of young adults) were tested on how well they slept after their body temperature was lowered before snoozing.
Scientists found that lowering the core body temperature of these participants not only helped them fall asleep faster, but it also improved the overall quality of sleep.
How was this measured?
Time spent in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, our deepest and most effective sleep for rest and recovery, was increased. REM is also where we dream the most.
How can we replicate this and implement it into our sleep routine?
Well, taking a hot shower or bath and cooling off in bed isn’t a bad strategy, but that’s a lot of work to fall asleep.
What we suggest:
My current technique is to get bundled up under the blankets for 5-10 minutes, gathering as much heat as I can. Then, once I feel that my body temperature is nice a toasty, I air out my blankets (allowing fresh air underneath) and leave my feet uncovered.
See, our feel contributes massively to our overall core temperature.
If your feet are cold, you’ll be cold. So, by cooling my feet, my overall core body temp will drop.
Usually, this works like a sleep trigger that sends me right into unconsciousness after just a few minutes. I also like to keep my room nice and chilly at night, so I’ll usually subconsciously pull my feet back under the covers as I’m on my way into dreamland.
5. Meditate Before Bed
Whether you believe in the spiritual benefits of meditation or not, there are many other reasons to give your mind a peaceful break, especially before bed.
I’ve found that getting into a stable body position, closing my eyes, and focusing on my breathing while visualizing my surroundings helps my mind and body relax.
I don’t know about you guys, but after a long day of work and stress, my mind doesn’t just turn off and accept that it’s time to wind down.
In fact, my brain is almost more active after getting into bed.
Meditation is massive for me, and I’d suggest the same for anyone and everyone.
There are countless methods that people use to meditate, and different people will swear by each of them.
What I’d suggest:
Read a few different ways to meditate, and practice the ones that sound intriguing.
Then, if you’re like me, you can mix a few of them and maybe add your spin until you’ve found that strategy that’s just right for you.
The remarkable thing about it is that there’s no wrong way to meditate, as long as you’re helping your mind relax.
Sleeping is ESSENTIAL for your well-being. What’s more, it is crucial when it comes to lucid dreaming. If you have trouble with sleeping, it’s better to first fix them, before attempting to lucid dream.
Tell me, have you tried to make yourself tired, using some of these tips?
Feel free to share in the comments below what helps you the most, when you cannot fall asleep!