Ways to Sleep Better Tonight March 18, 2017 10:16
The simple changes that'll transform your sleep, and entire day.
Sleep is the secret sauce. There isn't one facet of your mental, emotional, or physical performance that's not affected by the quality of your sleep.
The big challenge is that in our fast-paced world today, millions of people are chronically sleep deprived and suffering the deleterious effects of getting low-quality sleep.
The consequences of sleep deprivation aren't pretty either. Try immune system failure, diabetes, cancer, obesity, depression, and memory loss, just to name a few. Most people don't realize that their continuous sleep problems are also a catalyst for the diseases and appearance issues they're experiencing.
Always remember the value of your sleep. You will perform better, make better decisions, and have a better body when you get the sleep you require. Sleep is not an obstacle we need to go around. It's a natural state your body requires to boost your hormone function; heal your muscles, tissues, and organs; protect you from diseases; and make your mind work at its optimal level. The shortcut to success is not made by bypassing dreamland. You will work better, be more efficient, and get more stuff done when you're properly rested.
When you know you have a big task, project, or event coming up, pull out a calendar and plan ahead how you can get your ideal number of sleep hours in. Oftentimes it's as simple as setting up a schedule. But people overlook it because, well, it's just too easy.
Begin re-framing your idea of sleep. Instead of seeing sleep as an obstacle to work around (something you "have to" do), start seeing it as a special treat for yourself (something that you "get to" do) and love the entire process.
When it comes to sleep benefits, all sunlight is not created equal. The body clock is most responsive to sunlight in the early morning, between 6:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.
Exposure to sunlight later is still beneficial but doesn't provide the same benefit. Of course, this is going to vary depending on the time of the year, but make it a habit to get some sun exposure during that prime time light period.
If you are stuck in a cubical dungeon away from natural light at work, use your break time to strategically go and get some sun on your skin. Just a few minutes of outside time can makeover your mood.
Even on an overcast day, the sun's rays will make their way through and positively influence your hormone function. You can take your 10 or 15 minute breaks outdoors or near a window, or if you're really playing at a high level, you can make a habit of eating your lunch or having your meetings outside.
If you want to give your body the deep sleep it needs, make it a mandate to turn off all screens at least 90 minutes before bedtime in order to allow melatonin and cortisol levels to normalize.
If you ignore this and continue to have problems sleeping, I promise you Jimmy Fallon is not going to pay your hospital bills.
Use an alternative medium for nighttime activity. Remember those papery things called books we talked about? You can actually open one of those ancient relics and enjoy consuming a great story, inspiration, or education that way. And remember when people actually talked to each other face-to face? You can talk to the people in your life, listen to how their day went, and find out what they're excited about and what they may be struggling with. They can obviously do the same for you, too.
In our world, where we're more connected than ever before in some ways, we are often desperately lacking connection in others. Getting off our electronic devices, having a conversation, and showing affection is vital to our long-term health and well-being.
Turn off the cues. Behavioral psychologist Susan Weinschenk, PhD, says, "One of the most important things you can do to prevent or stop a dopamine loop, and be more productive (and get better sleep!), is to turn off the cues. Adjust the settings on your cell phone and on your laptop, desktop, or tablet so that you don't receive the automatic notifications. Automatic notifications are touted as wonderful features of hardware, software, and apps. But they are actually causing you to be like a rat in a cage."
If you want to get the best sleep possible, and take back control of your brain, turning off as many visual and auditory cues as you can will be an instant game-changer.