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10 tips to fix your sleep routine after a major life event

10 tips to fix your sleep routine after a major life event

A major life event can take a toll on almost anything – relationships, diet, daily routine, and definitely sleep. The end of one can be even worse, as you’re stuck with bad habits that have become second nature in your life. After spending my last two years of college sleeping only three to five hours a night, I knew it was a system I wanted and desperately needed to fix.

Sleep plays a vital part in our lives. Lack of sleep can lead to depression, anxiety, unhealthy eating habits, dark circles, and poor health. In extreme cases, sleep deprivation can cause hallucinations and heart disease, according to WebMD. Here are 10 ways to fix your sleep routine and get your life back in control before it’s too late. 

1. Put your devices away

An article from Sleep.org explains how a blue light emitted from laptops, computers, phones, tablets, and even game consoles can reduce your body’s natural melatonin and trick your brain into thinking it needs to stay awake. Don’t stare at any digital devices at least 30 minutes before going to sleep.

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2. Take melatonin supplements or drink tea

A natural solution to induce sleepiness is melatonin or noncaffeinated tea. Anywhere from 2-12 mg of melatonin can be taken at bedtime, but consult a doctor to be safe. Melatonin is naturally produced in our body as a hormone that controls the sleep cycle. Chamomile tea, often nicknamed the “sleep tea,” is another natural solution to bring about drowsiness. A cup daily before bedtime can relax the mind and body.

3. Have “me-time”

Instead of spending your last 30 minutes before bedtime on a device, take the opportunity to pamper yourself and de-stress. Apply a face or eye mask and lay down with a cup of tea. Avoid strenuous activity or overthinking. No matter how the day went, be thankful and forget your worries to savor this moment. You deserve it! Taking the time to switch from work to relaxation mode can help prepare you for sleep and reduce stress.

4. Tire yourself out

If you have a ton of energy around bedtime, try tiring yourself out during the day. One of the best ways to exhaust excess energy is to perform any form of exercise (my favorite is swimming.) A 2013 poll from the National Sleep Foundation found a positive correlation between exercise and a good night’s sleep. Don’t overdo yourself; if you’re not used to exercising, start with a 10-minute walk and slowly work your way up. A little exercise can make a huge impact on your sleep quality.

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5. Resist the urge to nap

A nap can be extremely tempting during a long day and is probably the cause of most ruined sleep cycles (including mine.) I repeat. Do. Not. Nap. As heartless as it sounds, a nap afternoon can disrupt your sleeping pattern and cause you to go to bed at an unideal time. A 30-minute nap can quickly turn into a three-hour nap. Break the cycle and resist the urge by going outside or planning an event with friends to keep you occupied and your mind off of how tired you are.

6. Track your sleep cycle with an app

Ever sleep for a long time and wake up more tired than before you went to bed? This is the result of waking up without completing a full cycle of sleep. Install a sleeping app to calculate what time you should wake up to ensure you don’t disrupt your sleep cycle. While these apps are not 100 percent accurate, they do a great job of helping you set an alarm depending on what time you go to sleep.

7. Change your room décor

A change in environment can go hand-in-hand with the end of a major life event. Buying a new comforter or rearranging your room can make your bedroom appear new. It’s a representation of your new life in the form of a physical change. This can trick your mind into associating old sleep habits with your past room and make it easier to implement new changes in your routine.

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8. Opt for a white or pink noise machine

Sometimes, a little noise is all you need. A white noise machine, like a fan, can block out any outdoor noise and make it easier to sleep. A pink noise, which is noise similar to a steady heartbeat, however, has been scientifically proven to help participants sleep up to 25 percent better than white noise, according to an article from AlenCorp. In the end, it’s up to personal preference. Regardless, buying a white or pink noise machine can help block out any sounds which can be disrupting your sleep.

9. Fix your diet

Your diet shows in your habits. Life events that cause stress usually create a bad diet, as well. A diet of processed, high-calorie junk food is guaranteed to make you feel lethargic and more prone to naps in the day and irregular sleep patterns. Eating cleaner, healthier options and replacing sodas and juices with water will help guarantee a good rest and will make your more active during the day.

10. Seek medical attention

If all else fails, consult a doctor. Sleep is too important to be ignored. A doctor can diagnose you if you have a medical condition and prescribe better medication or tips suited to your concerns. Don’t wait until your problems escalate. Seek medical attention if your sleepless nights persist for more than 2 weeks.

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Once you’ve regained control over your sleep, try your best not to let it go astray again. Consistency is key in keeping a proper sleep pattern going and guaranteeing a healthier life.

Featured photo credit: Benjamin Combs via hd.unsplash.com

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Fatima Puri

Journalist

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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