Do you get enough sleep – quality sleep? Do you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go, or feeling like crap? Here’s how to master the skill of sleeping well, and why you should care.
For many people, getting good sleep is on the list, with things like Drink More Water and Get Enough Exercise, that they’ll get round to someday.
That’s fine if you’re happy to settle for a mediocre life, never quite operating at peak performance. But you deserve better than that bro.
And stop trying to be all badass about it. Yes, you can sleep when you’re dead, but if you spend the first two hours of every day drinking coffee or Red Bull and the last hour in a brain fog, you’re really just being a dumbass.
Sort it out! Get some quality sleep. Do this stuff:
1 – Know why sleep matters
Sleep deprivation is a real thing. And not just the kind where you start hallucinating and get paranoid when you try to stay awake for a week (don’t be tempted – death is one of the other symptoms!)
Even at a fairly low level, sleep deprivation can cause you some serious problems:
Weight gain, to the point of obesity, and cravings for sugar and stimulants like caffeine and nicotine..
Your stress levels increase, with potential for diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
You start to lose cognitive function – that’s poor memory, poor judgement and decision making, less creativity and increasingly impulsive / compulsive behavior.
That all sucks, right?
2 – Work out how much sleep you need
On average, a healthy adult needs 8 hours sleep each night (teenagers do actually need more). And as with all averages, your milage may vary.
How long do you sleep? And how do you feel when you get up? If you sleep five hours and wake up tired, that’s probably not enough.
But too much sleep can leave you feeling pretty crappy too. If you’re staying in your pit for 9 or 10 hours and wake up groggy – well that’s likely too much sleep.
Your body is trying to tell you something here – pay attention!
3 – Try to establish a routine
If you work shifts it’s not the late nights or early mornings that fuck you up, it’s the switching form one to the other. Better to work permanent nights than be constantly swapping.
If at all possible, get a regular routine going. Work with your body’s natural circadian rhythm by getting up and going to bed at the same time every day.
Go to bed early if you have to – it’s not a sign of weakness! And get up earlier, even on your days off if that’s what you do all week. It may not fit your party lifestyle, but how does it feel to be wandering round like the walking dead?
4 – Wind down at night
Limit your caffeine intake and don’t have any later than lunchtime – yep, really, it affects you for that long.
Turn off screens an hour before you plan to sleep. Meh! Or at least install an app like f.lux that cuts down the blue light at night time.
Avoid having bright lights in your home at night, especially fluorescent lighting. Any bright light signals your brain that it’s daytime and you should be awake. Get some nice mood lighting in your pad.
Consider meditating or some form of relaxation technique before sleeping (yes, sex counts, as long as you’re not up all night!)
5 – Paint it black
Make your bedroom as dark as possible.
Cover up the glow from all those charging devices, or just get them out of your bedroom altogether if you can.
Invest in some good thick curtains, total blackout ones would be best, especially if you live in an area with street lighting.
If you can’t make the room dark a sleep mask might work for you.
And after sleeping…
Practice waking up well.
Get some good bright light going on to tell your brain it’s time to fire up.
Don’t straight for the caffeine, nicotine, sugar and painkillers. Drink a glass or two of water and try a ten minute workout to get the blood flowing – see how that makes you feel.
If it’s daylight, go for a quick walk – even if it’s just to go get coffee. At least you’ll get some fresh air and sunshine!
As with all new habits, give yourself 30 – 60 days to see how it works for you. Chances are you’ll be feeling pretty damn awesome after a couple of weeks and won’t want to go back to feeling like a zombie. But at least give it the 30 days and see.
What you should do now
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