With the new year here, I bet you have ambitious goals for 2016. As you should! Although I don’t think waiting until the calendar turns is the best source of motivation, if this is what you need to get motivated then I’m for it, whatever works.
However, I’m sure you know the biggest obstacle that gets in the way of you accomplishing your goals: being too tired. When you’re tired, your productivity crashes and it becomes extremely hard to overcome laziness. And then might you go down a negative spiral where you haven’t made any effort on your goals in days, then weeks, and then months.
So how do you get away from being tired and how do you get energized to do everything you want to from the start of the year? Productivity starts with getting better sleep so your body and mind is rested. But, this is easier said than done.
That’s why I wrote a detailed post on 13 different sleep tips to help you go to bed when you put your head on the pillow, and wake up feeling rested and energized to take on the day. And these sleep tips start anywhere from the afternoon to right before bedtime, so I guarantee that you can do better on at least one of these tips.
When you have no trouble going to bed early and sleeping, you increase your productivity and improve your quality of life. Check this out to improve your sleeping habits.
13 Sleep Tips For Out Of This World Rest
1. Come up with a sleep schedule and stick to it.
If you set a specific time to wake up and go to bed each day, you will train your body’s clock to naturally sleep when you want, to sleep through the night, and to wake up on time. Soon you will start to wake up a minute before your alarm clock, or when you get really good you don’t need an alarm at all. If a sleep schedule is foreign to you, I recommend setting a schedule for the weekdays first. Then, advance to the same schedule for every day of the week, including the weekend.
2. Work out at least three hours before trying to sleep.
Besides the happy feelings from working out, exercising is also great to exhaust your body so it’s ready to power down when you try to sleep. I recommend working out at least three hours before bed. Because if you’re not careful, you’ll work out too late at night and leave your body in the energized mode when you’re trying to get some shuteye.
3. Designate your bed for sleep only.
Just as you associate the bathroom with showering, number one, and number two, associating your bed with only sleep will help you get to rest sooner when you lay down. However, if you regularly watch Netflix, write papers, and study for exams on your bed throughout the day and evening, the association between your bed and sleep will be much weaker.
4. Stay away from naps.
Ideally, if you followed these sleep tips to a tee, then you would have no desire to nap as your body’s clock would be perfectly in tune with when to sleep and wake up. But regardless, as tempting as a nap can be, know that it’s going to make it harder for you to fall asleep at night, which means you’re also going to wake up later. So say no to naps during the day and your body will reward you at night by going to sleep early.
5. Don’t eat big meals up to two hours away from your bed time.
Because your stomach needs time to digest your food, eating a lot of food close to bed will most likely keep you awake. Eating a big plate can also cause your sleep to be interrupted by needing to go to the bathroom later. If you’re hungry before bed, a small cup of water or small snack should do the trick to hold you over before breakfast tomorrow morning. Picking up intermittent fasting would also help you not eat before bed. The last thing you want is to get fat in college and be tired because of it.
6. Avoid caffeine and alcohol at night.
I read that a cup of coffee can take as long as eight hours to wear off, so if you drink it in the late afternoon or at night, your body might be still stimulated while you’re trying to get rest. Alcohol negatively affects sleep, but in a different form. You get less deep sleep with alcohol, which is crucial to feel rested the next day. And lastly, people who drank significant amounts of alcohol regularly wake up in the middle of the night when the alcohol wears off.
7. Take a warm shower or bath.
The decrease in your body temperature after getting out of the water can encourage your body to start to shut down and get ready for bed. Plus, a soothing shower or bath also helps your body get comfortable and relaxed, two essentials for sleeping. Getting clean before bed is also a good solution to give yourself more time in the mornings. Just remember to fix your hair with some dry shampoo or hair product so you don’t go out into public with bed head.
8. Decide tomorrow morning’s plans to reduce anxiety.
One of my best productivity tips in general is writing out tomorrow’s to-do list the night before. But, this 5-minute activity is also great for your sleep because it relieves your mind from running through what you need to do the next day. You have to love a productivity and sleep tip mixed in one!
9. Put your alarm clock on the other side of the room, out of sight.
Setting your alarm clock away from your bed so you have to physically move to get up and turn it off in the morning isn’t a new sleep tip. But, making sure the clock is out of sight is what I find extremely helpful. When you can’t see the clock, you don’t allow yourself to calculate how much (actually how little) sleep you’re going to get, which will make you anxious and keep you awake. Instead, when you can’t see the time, you can turn off your brain’s calculations and anxiety to get to sleep earlier.
10. Turn off your phone, laptop, and other electronics at least 30-60 minutes before bed.
The light from your phone, for example, is like a drug that keeps your brain and eyes awake. So it’s no wonder you can’t fall asleep the moment you put your phone away, after having your phone in front of your face for the past hour in bed. This girl I know, Grace, told me about how much she struggles with insomnia because of this exact problem. In my opinion, this is the most ignored and therefore the most important sleep tip of them all for young adults. As you’ll see in sleep tip #13, darkness is crucial for solid rest.
11. Read to relax your mind.
What’s a solution instead of having a phone in your face before bed? Grab a physical book (a Kindle or ebook will accomplish nothing here) and start reading. This helps because the act of reading relieves stress and relaxes your body, allowing you to wind down until you sleep. You’ll realize that if you trade your electronics for a book, you’re able to get to sleep sooner and feel more rested. And even when you’re not trying to sleep, reading an enjoyable book is a great short and relaxing break before you get back to busy work.
12. Have a warm (but not too warm) blanket or cover.
There’s a sweet spot for your body’s prime sleeping temperature. If you go without the covers, then you will wake up in the middle of the night freezing. If you do the opposite by getting an electric heated blanket, or one made of wool or cashmere, then you’ll interrupt your sleep because you’re burning up in a sweat. Find a blanket that is medium-warmth to sleep through the night uninterrupted.
13. Make your room completely dark.
Your body is trained to recognize light as time to be energized and darkness as a time to sleep. By making your bedroom total darkness, you give your body the nod to start rising melatonin levels, which is a main contributor to going to sleep (and why some people take melatonin pills before bed). When I did The 30-Day Challenge: Waking Up At 6 AM, I know for a fact that making my room completely dark helped me to a high degree. So if outside light is entering your room, close those window blinds or put a blanket over them to reach maximum darkness.
There you have my tried and true sleep tips for going to bed early and starting the next morning right! Try them out and see how it improves your sleep, energy, and life.
Related: 3 Ways To Wake Up Earlier Without Feeling Like Death
Readers, do you struggle with going to bed early? How would instantly going to sleep help improve your productivity? What are your best sleep tips?