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10 Great Hacks To Make You Sleep Better

10 Great Hacks To Make You Sleep Better

Sleep is important to your success. This is why it becomes amusing to know that many are not getting as much sleep as they need. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S., 40 million people suffer from chronic long term sleep disorders annually. It seems people are struggling to find sleep. To address such an issue here are some hacks that can prove useful.

1. Improve your breathing

What is popularly known as the “The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise,” has been proven to promote better sleep. What this breathing exercise does for you is to regulate your breath.

According to Dr. Andrew Weil on his website, “Breathing strongly influences physiology and thought processes, including moods. By simply focusing your attention on your breathing and without doing anything to change it, you can move in the direction of relaxation.”

What this sleep hack does is silence your mind and eases it from distracting thoughts.

2. Take a warm bath before sleeping

A bath helps to cool your body temperature and embrace sleep. Once you come out from a bath a message is sent to your brain that you are ready for sleep. Although scientists cannot explain this phenomenon it appears, that having such a bath mimics our body temperature.

3. Keep your feet outside your blanket

You can sleep faster if you keep one or both feet outside of your blanket. Since our biological rhythms and temperatures fluctuate throughout the day, this hack seems ideal because when your body temperature starts to drop before you fall asleep, a cooler temperature will also help it induce sleepiness. The feeling you get from having your feet outside your blanket and embracing cooler temperature is similar to having a warm bath before you go to bed.

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4. Avoid bright light before sleeping

Blue light from TVs, smartphones and computers can suppress the production of melatonin in the body. What may be stopping you from getting that sleep you need may be the screens you are staring at. You could try and dim the lights from your screens or wear amber tinted glasses to reduce the effects of such light.

5. Eat a decent meal of small, carb-filled supper before bed

Eating a small portion of food that is rich in carbohydrates can induce a good night sleep according to research. So try some bowl of cereal or a slice of toast before you go to bed.

6. Improve the darkness in your room

Light ticks the brain that it is time to be active and get things done. However the opposite becomes the case when light is reduced in the room. Your bedroom should not have any lights on whether from a TV or any electronic device if you want to get some sleep.

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7. Improve the smell in your room

According to an article by Wall Street Journal sprinkling lavender oil on bedclothes could lull you to sleep. According to researchers at the University of Miami School of Medicine, the aroma in lavender has been shown “to slow down heart rate, slow blood pressure and put you in a parasympathetic state, which is a relaxed state.”

8. Have a list

Listing your problems and penning down possible solutions for them could help you get  the problem out of your head and focus on sleep. According to a study, this action makes you more relaxed for bed.

9. Use the 90 minute rule

Our brains completes several 90 minute cycles through different stages. So if you want to know the ideal time for sleeping take several counts of 90 minutes backwards to the ideal and appropriate time to sleep. For example waking up at 7 am should mean that you sleep around 10pm or 11:30 pm.

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10. Avoid smoking before bedtime

Many smokers believe smoking keeps them relaxed. However since nicotine is a stimulant this may not be the best method to get sleep. Just like coffee you should expect to wake up several times throughout the night.

Featured photo credit: http://www.photopin.com via photopin.com

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Casey Imafidon

Specialized in motivation and personal growth, providing advice to make readers fulfilled and spurred on to achieve all that they desire in life.

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

2. No Motivation

Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

5. Upward Comparisons

Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

6. No Alternative

This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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7. Stress

As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

8. Sense of Failure

People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

9. The Need to Be All-New

People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

10. Force of Habit

Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

Final Thoughts

These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

More on Breaking Bad Habits

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
[2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
[3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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