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10 Smart Tips To Help You Get A Complete, Peaceful Sleep

10 Smart Tips To Help You Get A Complete, Peaceful Sleep

Do you take hours to fall asleep? Have you ever had a full night’s sleep and felt completely miserable afterwards? My sister has a horrific time sleeping – she rarely does. When she manages to get some shut eye, she sneaks in either 2-4 hours… or 14 hours. It’s bad. Various therapists and sleeping experts couldn’t help. All they wanted to do was prescribe her sleeping meds.

1. The Dangers of LED

Screens (in most cases a smartphone) are the #1 reason why people can’t sleep. Blinded by the blue light in LED screens, our brain shuts down the release of melatonin. Melatonin is known as the “sleep hormone,” which controls our body clock. iPads, phones, TVs, laptops – anything with a screen must be eliminated.

If you’re prone to waking up in the middle of night, grabbing your device and checking social media for a minute or two, you won’t find it a good way to doze back asleep. Resist the urge to grab your smartphone or laptop and assess why you think you woke up in the first place.

2. Nap During The Day

Believe it or not, 20-minute power naps have been shown to drastically increase productivity in the workplace. Even if you’ve had your body’s sleeping allocation for the day, naps increase alertness, creativity and enhances our mood.

3. Stick To A Sleeping Schedule

Adjust your biological clock and help it do what it’s meant to, by going to sleep every night at the same time, if it can be helped. A stable sleeping pattern aligns your bio-clock to recognise when it is time to sleep. This is crucial towards ensuring a full night’s luxurious sleep.

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Sometimes, sleeping schedules go astray. That’s life – things happen. Try your best to get back on track as soon as time permits.

4. Chow Down The Right Foods

Serotonin and melatonin are neurotransmitters that help you sleep. To get those transmitters, your brain needs tryptophan, an essential amino acid found in turkey. Turkey is loaded with tryptophan – which could explain why you feel incredibly sleepy at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

Other foods that send you to sweet dreamland are:

  • Eggs
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Red meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Reduced fat mozzarella
  • Pumpkin and squash seeds
  • Chicken breast

(Basically, all muscle-building staple foods that are high in protein.)

5. Maintain Silence

Whether your loved one is snoring away, the neighbours are noisy, your house guests are in the other room chatting away, or your family is blaring the TV, some noises never stop.

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Short of letting everybody in your house know that you’re trying to sleep, consider purchasing quality custom-made earplugs. If those are a no go, have a look for sleep-specific noise-cancelling headphones. Be sure the ‘phones are fit for sleeping in.

6. Exercise Regularly

Regular cardiovascular exercise (running, swimming, burpees, etc.) dramatically improves the quality and duration of your shut-eye time. The body needs only 30 minutes of intense aerobic exercise for our body heat to remain high. It stays high for around 4 hours.

During your body’s cool down period, your brain will be receiving frequent signals that it’s time for sleep. This is made possible through the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone (I’ve talked about melatonin so much because it is that important for a good night’s rest.)

7. Stop Worrying About The Future

Not being able to turn off our minds is a giant problem. They’re a dial that can’t be turned off. I used to worry about things like…

  • What’s going to happen tomorrow
  • Replaying conversations in my head
  • Fretting over goals I hadn’t reached
  • Wondering why am I not where I want to be in life

I’m not alone in experiencing those feelings. These fears hang in the balance of many people’s minds. A way to clear the air and form a response for them is to simply jot them down. You can jot them down in a journal, notebook, stationary pad, etc.

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Writing down every one of your woesome thoughts, by hand, empties the mental clutter so you can have a spiritually nourishing slumber. This steers your mind clear of thinking about them.

Another thing you can do (while we’re on the subject of cleaning) is to shower and brush your teeth. If you feel dirty you’re going to obsess about it – just as you would with your mental “clogs”.

8. Tense Yourself To The Limits

Relax your muscles by tensing them as hard as you possibly can (without straining yourself), holding them for a few moments, and then release the tension. This form of muscle relaxation (which also fights stress), usually accompanied by rhythmic breathing, helps relax the mind as well as your body. Try it tonight while you’re lying on your back. (You aren’t going anywhere, are you?)

9. Thermostat

Most studies demonstrate that room temperatures of between 62 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (17-21 degrees Celsius) seem to work best for sleeping. The reason is that our core body temperature drops at night. In fact, this drop is a signal to the brain to say goodnight. A warm room can inhibit this process.

10. Optimize Your Bedroom

Where you sleep has just as much importance as what you do to prepare for bed. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the bed should be reserved for a deep night’s natural sleeping and love-making. Which is fine – however, how much stock have you put into the rest of your bedroom?

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It’s been well-known that a messy, untidy room piles stress on our psychological well-being. Here are a few ways you can maximise your bedroom’s good vibes for a comfier sleep starting today:

  • Control your internal clock by keeping the room dark (this means NO screens of any kind). The hypothalamus (responsible for your inner clock) releases cortisol when light is detected. As a result, your body temperature raises, and your wakefulness is restored.
  • Clean the clutter: using a closed hamper to keep piles of clothes from your view does a lot for maximising your sleep.
  • Keep pillows full and fresh by replacing them every 1-2 years.
  • Use YouTube for bedroom organisation tips

Consider some of these techniques (or all of them!) when you’re about to hit the hay tonight. Don’t put yourself through another catastrophic sleep by waiting until tomorrow. Stop being miserable in your day-to-day and do something about your sleep habits. Your mind, body and life health (and friends) will thank you for choosing to make a positive difference. It certainly has in my beloved sister’s sleep schedule in no time at all.

Featured photo credit: Wokandapix via pixabay.com

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Maya Levine

Passionate Writer & Researcher

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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