I aim, and usually succeed, for 7 hours sleep each night. Some parts of me think that sleeping is a waste of precious time, but on the other hand I feel noticeably better after consistent 7 hour sleeps.
Probably because I’m getting older (28 this year, help me!) but I definitely feel the effects of or getting enough sleep!
I never really lie in, even at the weekends – for me there’s nothing worse than rolling out of bed at 11 and realising you’ve left most of the day behind you! Not only that, but I think lie ins at the weekend make getting back into the work routine even harder on a Monday.
I usually fall asleep pretty well and ideally wake up before my alarm (that doesn’t always happen, but most of the time I manage it!) so I don’t wake up in a panic. I prefer not to block out natural light wherever possible so that it helps me wake up naturally too.
Here are some of my ways for improving sleep quality:
- I use an acupressure mat (here), which I lie on for 20-30 minutes each night before bed whenever I can – it works great to relax my muscles and supports healthy endorphin release to help reduce stress levels. It is also reported that acupuncture mats can improve blood circulation and relieve muscular tensions, aches and pains.
- Sleep without your mobile phone in the room – this stops you checking your phone or even thinking about it subconsciously, and I don’t know one person who does not immediately wake up when they look at a phone screen.
- Meditation – honestly the benefits of meditation are HUGE! Just 10 minutes a day can make such a difference to your wellbeing and stress levels. If you’re new to mediation, try Headspace (they do a 10 day free trial for mediation so you can learn the basics).
- If you feel stressed about specific things, write them down. Also, listen to Time Ferriss’ recent TED talk about defining fears, here, and perhaps implement his ideas – definitely something I will be doing. I am a serial overthinker, though I am fast learning to overthink a lot less and ‘go with the flow’ a lot more. I think this manifested from stress elsewhere in my life, which led to an uncontrollable need to plan everything – something I have addressed and have a much more positive and realistic approach, just sorting this aspect out has meant my sleep has been dramatically improved! I often used to wake in the middle of the night for hours, with thoughts constantly going through my head, which is of course a viscous cycle!
- Try not to get in to high maintenance sleeping habits – like black out blinds or the need for a radio in the background. These make it incredibly difficult to adapt to different surroundings, meaning that sleeping in a new environment is very difficult and will undoubtedly provide additional stress and sleep deprivation!
- Reading! Regardless of how good a book is, if I read in bed I will almost inevitable be asleep within half an hour (is this just me?)
- Don’t use an electronic device for at least half an hour before you intend to sleep, these absolutely stimulate your brain and make it much harder to shut off ready for sleep.
- Don’t eat or drink caffeine too late in the day – know the cut off times that work best for you. I don’t often eat very late (usually no later than 8), nor do I usually have a coffee after 12 pm, everyone is different and will have different requirements.
- Exercise helps to improve sleep at night as well as feeling more alert during the day…WIN/WIN
How much sleep do you aim for?