Tips for Sleeping Well

ImageI would guess that everyone, at some time or another, has had troubles sleeping.  I personally go through cycles – sometimes I fall right asleep and wake up feeling refreshed, and other times I will toss and turn all night.  In college, I seemed to survive off of 4-5 hours per night, but studies show that really isn’t sustainable for healthy bodies.  Sleep is linked to energy, metabolism, productivity, and aging… it is a pretty important part of your day (night).  I aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night, and I make it a large priority.  Here are some tips that I have found to really work:

No caffeine after 2pm.  This includes coffee, soda, etc.  Caffeine stays in your system for a while, so just stay away from it after noon if you can help it.

Go to Bed Early.  You need to literally calculate the time you should be in bed to get a good night’s rest.  I used to do this backwards… I would get the extra minutes of sleep by pressing the snooze button on my alarm, or re-setting it for a later time.  But the best thing to do is think, I need to be up by 7am.  Therefore, I should be sound asleep NO LATER than 11pm.  Meaning I need to be in bed by 10 pm.  Do not assume that when you get in bed, you are going to fall right asleep.  At least not at first, if you are used to staying up later.  Back when I used to work out at 5am every morning, I had to force myself to get in bed at 8pm.  Yes!  8pm!

Keep it Cold.  People sleep best in cooler temperatures.  The ideal room temperature for sleeping is 65-68°F.  In the wintertime, I keep my AC off and turn on my ceiling fan.

Complete Darkness.  This means no cell phone or laptop in bed.  No light whatsoever.  Get black-out curtains for any windows.  Your body needs this darkness to produce melatonin, which helps you sleep.

Track Your Sleep.  One of the best apps I ever downloaded was SleepCycle.  It tracks the quality of your sleep and makes you aware of how many hours you are really getting throughout the week.  It also serves as an alarm clock, and has the option for a soothing sound to help you fall asleep.

Naps Don’t Count.  While the occasional nap might make you feel refreshed, it doesn’t really count toward your sleep time because you aren’t getting the benefits of the full stages of sleep.

I challenge you to get 56 hours of sleep (that’s an average of 8 hours per night) for the next week.  Think you can do it?


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