10 Ways to Sleep Easier & Wake Up Rested
10 Ways To Sleep Better
How to sleep easier & wake up well rested.
After reading *Why We Sleep* my entire outlook on sleep has shifted. This state in which we spent 1/3rd of our lives I no longer consider an inconvenience or a burden. I long for it, it's my training tool, my doctor and my therapist all in one and I have grown to embrace the soft touch of my sheets each night.
Since my obsession begun I strove to learnt more and more about how I can create a healthy and positive relationship with sleep. After spending most of my life chronically sleep deprived, unable to get proper rest (or wanting to) I have compiled my top tips that I have learnt over the years.
Water before bed (and in morning)
For some reason my bladder is extra active at night, it's not unusual for me to try to sleep but getting up every 20 minutes to go to the toilet (until I fall asleep then I am fine). My solution is to not drink much water in the last 2 hours before sleep, so make sure you've had enough before then!
When you wake up, you will have had 8 hours sleep + 2 hours without much water and therefore be extremely dehydrated! Drink a glass (I have a pint) of water as the very first thing you do in the morning, before coffee, before toilet, literally as soon as you get out of bed. Try it literally just once and notice how you feel afterwards, you won't regret it!
You may or may not of heard of blue light blocking glasses but you've probably heard of nightmode on your phone. If you want to read about this in depth then check out our article here. Essentially certain types of bright artificial lights (mainly from screens) can disrupt the brain's usual signals of making you feel tired at night.
The usual solution would be to stop looking at screens a few hours before bed and read a book instead. My realistic solution is just to put these on an hour or 2 before bed. I use the orange tinted version and they definitely make me feel drowsier than without.
I'm not going to get into the ins and outs of why you need 8 hours of sleep. The benefits range from feeing better in almost every way to feeling better in every way. For more details you can read this, or watch this.
You need to make sure that you have a window of 8 hours that will be for sleeping, every night. Not 8 hours including breakfast and a good night snack. 8 hours for being in bed, sleeping uninterrupted.
To follow on from the previous point. If you decide that one day your 8 hours sleep starts from 11pm and the next day it starts at 2am then you will absolutely not be getting the optimal benefits. You need to let your body adapt and you need structure to do this.
Every night you should aim to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time also. I would even stretch the routine to the time before sleeping and when you wake up; basically the more you get used to doing something a certain way the easier and more natural it will feel!
10pm: Shower & Blue light glasses on.
11pm: Read book
7.30am: Wake Up
7.31am: Drink water
Alcohol (or other drugs)
Unfortunately the classic 'night cap' does not aid sleep, at least not restfull sleep. Being drunk or in a chemically altered state affects your ability to get into a deep phase of sleep and therefore can make a massive difference on the benefits you would usually get during this phase of sleeping.
If you're going to drink alcohol try to finish drinking a few hours before you go to sleep.
It's definitely worth mentioning caffeine in it's own category here. The amount of people who claim they are insomniacs or that they have huge difficulties sleeping yet don't think twice about having an energy drink before their evening gym session or a coffee after dinner.
Everyone's sensitivity to caffeine is different, personally I stop drinking it after 2pm. If you're struggling with sleep and drink it later than that I would advise you to experiment with stopping earlier!
Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but now I just cannot understand the logic behind cheaping out on your bed. Imagine you spent 8 hours a day outside in the cold - would you buy the cheapest coat possible or would you invest into one that fits well and keeps you warm.
Obviously beds are expensive, so are mattresses. But you can do little things that make a big difference. Like a memory foam mattress topper or new sheets.
If you wake up every day with a sore neck, you should not just have to deal with that and settle with it, thinking "that's just the way it is" - buy a new pillow! Everyone's body is different and what works for someone else may not work for you!
Remember, it's the small things that make a big difference - make sure your curtains aren't letting in any unnecessary light. Keep the air fresh by cracking the window open, make sure your room isn't too hot or too cold.
Generally humans sleep easier when the are cool rather than being too hot, experiment with the temperature in your room and see what suits you best!
Start Getting to Know your Sleep
Throughout all of this, one of the most important changes to make is your mindset. You need to have a healthy and positive relationship with sleep. It benefits you, heals you, makes you feel better and you should know and remind yourself of this.
Aside from trying to understand sleep by reading and researching about it, using an app like Sleep Cycle is a really nifty trick to start thinking about your sleep differently and understanding it better.
It has all sorts of cool features, like tracking your sleep phases, mood, lengths, even a smart alarm to wake you up during your lightest stage of sleep.
Thank you for reading, I hope this article has been enjoyable and I wish you a pleasant night's sleep!
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